An update on HB444, the Hawaii civil unions bill passed by the legislature last month. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle says she wants to hear from both sides and held a two-hour meeting on Monday with about 30 anti-gay activists, reports KHON2.
"'House Bill 444 is not about civil rights but about creating special rights,' said civil unions opponent Garrett Hashimoto. Religious leaders and several youth were among the group. 'For example, what comes next, same sex marriage? what comes next, homosexuality being taught in the schools?,' asked Ryan Mc Donald, civil union opponent. Recently the governor shared the factors she'll be considering as she weighs whether to veto, sign or let the measure become law without her signature. 'How the economy, the fiscal situation of the government would be affected, what programs would we now have to expand to cover a lot more people for instance so what would the economic impact be?,' asked Governor Linda Lingle.To that end proponents released a University of Hawaii economic analysis that said: 'The legalization of civil unions in Hawaii will have only a very minimal impact on any aspect of Hawaii's economy and state government operations.'"
Last week the governor described HB444 as "same sex marriage by a different name" to the Honolulu Advertiser. Lingle has until July 6 to veto, sign or let the bill become law without her signature.
In related news: Republican Congressman-elect Charles Djou was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, reports the Honolulu Advertiser. Djou was the "least gay-friendly of the three leading candidates" who hoped to replace Democrat Neil Abercrombie, the strong LGBT rights ally who left Congress to run for governor. Djou has denounced HB444, civil unions and marriage equality.