Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hawaii: Next State to allow Civil Unions for Homosexual Couples?


Between 6,000 and 8,000 people gathered at the state Capitol on Sunday for a demonstration against proposed legislation that would legalize same-sex civil unions in Hawaii.

The protest was organized by the Hawaii Family Forum (HFF) which represents churches from across the state, including the Hawaii Catholic Conference, in anticipation of a vote to be held today by a state Senate committee looking at the issue.

Executive Director of the HFF, Dennis Arakaki, said "We are here in the spirit of love, compassion, and grace," according to AP. "But we are also here armed with the sword of truth. In Hawaii, people still believe in traditional marriage and the sanctity of marriage, and there's no indication that values or perspectives have changed."

In 1998, nearly 70 percent of Hawaii voters approved a constitutional amendment giving the State Legislature the power to reserve marriage for opposite-sex couples. The "defense of marriage" amendment resulted in a law banning homosexual "marriage" in Hawaii, but did not obviate the possibility of same-sex civil unions.

Earlier this month the Hawaii House of Representatives approved Bill 444, in a 34 to 17 vote, which, if passed by the Senate committee and not vetoed by Governor Linda Lingle, would give same-sex partners who enter into civil unions the same rights and benefits under state law as married couples. It would also recognize civil unions, domestic partnerships and same-sex "marriages" performed in other states and countries as civil unions in Hawaii.

Read the full article here.

Update: Civil union bill stalls in Senate Judiciary Committee with a 3-3 vote. The vote took place at 3:00am after 12 hours of testimony.