Civil Unions bill likely dead, advocates pledge to fight on
HONOLULU – Equality Hawaii, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, denounced the Hawaii State House for failing to take up and pass HB 444 SD1, the state Civil Unions bill. The bill would have provided that the equal rights and responsibilities of married couples in Hawaii are afforded to thousands of non-married couples in the state. The House voted by voice vote to postpone the bill indefinitely, effectively killing the bill for the session.
“We’re sorely disappointed that the Hawaii State House refused to take action on the Civil Unions bill,” said Tambry Young, Co-Chair of Equality Hawaii. “Today, the House put its own political interests before the interests of Hawaii’s families and that’s bad policy and bad politics. We pledge that this fight is not over, and we will continue in our efforts to see true equality in our state.”
The decision by the House comes on the heels of swift action in the Senate which saw the bill pass by an 18-7 vote on January 22. House Speaker Calvin Say suggested earlier in the week that the House may not be willing to reconsider the bill if the majority could not garner enough votes to override a possible veto from the Governor. The Governor has never made a veto threat on the topic of Civil Unions.
“We’re stunned that the Hawaii State House would act contrary to their previous position of strongly supporting this bill,” said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “We thank all those who advocate for equality in the Aloha State, especially our friends in the legislature and with Equality Hawaii. We have been a proud partner with Hawaii’s fair-minded residents for decades and will continue to stand by their side in the struggle for equality.”
“This fight is not over and we will ultimately prevail,” said Alan Spector, Legislative Affairs Co-Chair for Equality Hawaii. “It is simply unfathomable that politics and election considerations would supersede honor, integrity and common-sense. Today, these Representatives did not represent their constituent’s families – shame on them.”
Equality Hawaii is dedicated to securing equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their families in Hawaii. We envision a Hawaii in which LGBT people and their families have full equality in all areas of the law.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.