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HI Civil Union Bill Still Waiting on Governor’s Signature

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle placed a bill that would legalize civil unions in Hawaii on a potential veto list she released Monday. Lingle must either veto or sign the bill or let the bill pass into law without her signature by a July 6 deadline. She has given little public indication of what her decision will be, however, historically a majority of measures that have appeared on the potential veto list have been turned down, reported the Associated Press. This bill would grant both gay and straight partners the same rights and benefits accorded to married couples in Hawaii. According to a study by the Charles R. Williams Institute On Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California School of Law, an estimated 272 of Hawaii’s approximately 2,472 same-sex couples would enter into a civil union within a year of the legislation going into law. Alan Spector, an Equality Hawaii board member, told the Associated Press, “Actually, I was pleased to hear that – that she is going back and forth on the issue. It shows that she’s still engaged in deep, thoughtful consideration of the bill.” The former communications director for the Hawaii Democratic Party, Chuck Freedman, told Time that the governor “has been tight-lipped about this and publicly saying she is talking to both sides. My own feeling is, this is a basic civil-rights issue and not a Democratic or Republican issue. I hope her sense of civil rights will kick in and she will allow it into law.” If Governor Lingle vetoes the bill, there is a small possibility that the legislature could override it. Though the bill was passed with a veto-proof majority in the state Senate, the state House would need a two-thirds vote in favor of the bill to override a gubernatorial veto. Civil unions are currently legal in six states (Colorado, Wisconsin, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, and Washington). Same sex marriage is currently legal in five additional states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia. Legislation to legalize same sex marriage was recently defeated in New York and New Jersey. Proceedings are still underway in the trial that will decide whether California’s Proposition 8, the November 2008 ballot initiative that overturned the right of same-sex marriage in the state, is constitutional.

Sources:

Time 6/20/10; Associated Press 6/21/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/30/10

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