Hawaii's Republican Gov. Linda Lingle continues to claim she is undecided on the Legislature's civil unions bill, but described HB444 as the equivalent of same-sex marriage to the Honolulu Advertiser.
"''It does appear to me on reading it, that it really is same-sex marriage, but by a different name,' Lingle told reporters during a break at the state GOP convention at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikīkī. 'But I want to wait and hear people out.' Lingle has said in the past that she would consider some form of domestic partnership legislation but she has opposed same-sex marriage.The governor made it clear yesterday that she believes domestic partnerships are different from the civil unions described in the bill.
The bill would give same-sex and heterosexual couples who enter into civil unions the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as in marriage under state law. Couples in civil unions, however, would not be recognized under federal law. Gay rights activists believe this distinction, as well as the fact that civil unions would not have the same social and cultural significance as marriage, separates civil unions from marriage."
Oh, there's about 1100 federal benefits available to "marriage" and not "civil unions". Plus that little thing called DOMA. But who's counting?
Lingle has until July 6 to veto, sign or let the bill become law without her signature. The Hawaii House passed HB444 by a 31-20 vote on April 29. The bill passed the Senate 18-7 in January. The Senate vote was enough to override a veto, but the House vote was not. The House would need 34 votes to override.
Meanwhile: Delegates at this weekend's Hawaii Republican Convention passed a resolution calling on Lingle to veto HB444, reports the Star Bulletin.
Stridently anti-gay Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is running to succeed Lingle, has slammed the Senate vote and promised a November voter referendum on civil unions.