Three weeks after Hawaii's twice-divorced and lame duck Republican Gov. Linda Lingle cowardly vetoed HB444, the civil unions bill, six gay couples in the Aloha State will file a lawsuit today asking for the same rights as married couples. The lawsuit is being brought by Lambda Legal and the ACLU.
"The lawsuit doesn't seek the titles of 'marriage' or 'civil unions' for gay partners. Instead, it requests that the court system extend them the benefits and responsibilities of marriage based on the Hawaii Constitution's prohibition against sex discrimination. 'We continue to be discriminated against,' said plaintiff Suzanne King, who has been in a relationship with her partner for 29 years. 'We're a family unit, and we live our lives just like everyone else, but we aren't treated the same.' The legal action in state court comes as a response to the Republican governor's veto July 6, when she said voters should decide whether to reserve marriage for couples of a man and a woman."
"The office of Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett declined comment Wednesday because it hadn't yet been served with the lawsuit. The state grants some rights to gay couples through its reciprocal beneficiaries system. But they lack the same legal priviledges and obligations of adoption, child support, alimony and access to family court, said Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, which is bringing the case along with the American Civil Liberties Union."
The suit is expected to reach the Hawaii Supreme Court.
Stridently anti-gay Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is a candidate for governor, opposes civil unions. On the Democratic side, only former congressman Neil Abercrombie supports fully equality.