Lambda Legal and ACLU to Governor: Do Not Veto HB 444

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Date: 
06/21/2010
Jennifer C. Pizer

"The time has never been better for everyone who supports fairness to contact the governor and renew our voice for civil unions in Hawai`i."

(Honolulu, June 21, 2010) — Today, in a notification letter to the Legislature, Governor Linda Lingle included HB 444 in a list of bills she may veto. This notification has prompted a renewed call from civil unions supporters for her to allow the bill to become law.

"This notification states only that the governor wants additional time to make her decision on civil unions. The time has never been better for everyone who supports fairness to contact the governor and renew our voice for civil unions in Hawai`i," said Jennifer C. Pizer, Lambda Legal National Marriage Project Director, speaking for both groups. "The governor has said she is considering civil unions with an open mind, and we have seen her make an effort to hear both sides. A wide array of business, religious and community leaders have voiced their support for civil unions—explaining how civil unions will benefit Hawai`i's economy and strengthen our families as has already happened in eight other states. We trust that she will listen to this ever-growing chorus of support and will act on behalf of the state in the best interest of all Hawai`i by signing HB 444 into law."

Hawai`i's constitution was amended in 1998 to allow the Legislature to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, which it has done. Same-sex couples therefore cannot pursue full equality by seeking marriage through the courts. Although civil unions are a lesser status than marriage, they will provide a full range of state law protections and duties to gay and lesbian couples, such as access to family court to dissolve the legal status in an orderly way, clear duties to pay child support and alimony as spouses must, and other vital protections. Bills to offer civil unions have been under steady consideration in the Hawai`i Legislature each year since 2001.

Potential veto lists like the one issued today are part of the standard legislative process. This list formally notifies the Legislature that potential vetoes exist. In turn, the Legislature can consider reconvening to exercise its right to override any veto(es). Governor Lingle has until July 6 to accept or veto each of the bills on today's list, including HB 444.

Visit the websites of Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Hawai`i to get these educational materials about HB 444:
HB 444: Hawai`i's Civil Unions Bill—Fast Facts
HB 444: Hawai`i's Civil Unions Bill—Frequently Asked Questions
The Legal Rights of Civil Union Partners in Hawai`i (if HB 444 becomes law)
Answers to Questions about HB444 Posed by the Hawai`i Business Roundtable (Memo to Gary Kai)

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Contact: Jason Pérez Howe, 213-382-7600, ext. 247; jhowe@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

The mission of the ACLU and its Hawai`i affiliate is to protect the fundamental freedoms contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide.

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