July 7, 2010 in City

Same-sex civil unions bill vetoed in Hawaii

Herbert A. Sample Associated Press
 

HONOLULU – Hawaii’s governor on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have permitted same-sex civil unions.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle’s action came on the final day she had to either sign or veto the bill, which the Hawaii Legislature approved in late April.

“There has not been a bill I have contemplated more or an issue I have thought more deeply about during my eight years as governor than House Bill 444 and the institution of marriage,” Lingle said at a news conference. “I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-sex marriage, and find that House Bill 444 is essentially same-sex marriage by another name.”

Had Lingle not vetoed it, the measure would have granted gay and lesbian couples the same rights and benefits that the state provides to married couples.

Lingle’s decision is expected to be the last say on the proposal this year, because state House leaders have said they won’t override any of Lingle’s vetoes.

She said voters should decide the fate of civil unions, not politicians.

“It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials,” Lingle said.

A 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling nearly made Hawaii the first state to legalize same-sex marriage before voters overwhelmingly approved the nation’s first “defense of marriage” constitutional amendment in 1998.

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