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04/30/2010

HI, quasi-equality. How ya doin?

by Jeremy Hooper

HI-islandsWe have other civil union states. But when we get one where a drink served in a coconut is not an unreasonable request, can our ultimate equality be that far behind? That's the question on our minds this A.M.:

By a vote of 31-20, the Hawaii House today approved a civil unions bill just hours before the end of this year's legislative session.
Hawaii Legislature OKs historic civil unions bill; governor now must decide [Honolulu Advertiser]

It remains to be seen what the question mark known as Gov. Linda Lingle (R) will do with the bill. If she signs, then great. If she does nothing, then good (it becomes law). If she vetoes, then the legislature can try for an override. If her pen breaks and bleeds all over the bill, then she's been spending too much time with Bobby Brady and his tiki necklace.

But the real question: Where do Hawaii's gay couples go on their honeymoon escapes? The midwest?

***

*This statement from Freedom To Marry's Evan Wolfson, who has been involved in Hawaii marriage matters longer than most of us:

"In the 1990s, Hawaii began the national conversation about ending gay couples’ exclusion from marriage, and was the first to create a legal status to provide some state-level recognition and protections for same-sex couples. The legislature’s passage of a civil union bill marks a major step forward in Hawaii’s journey toward fairness and equality, but falls short of the full security and equal protection that come only with the freedom to marry. In the years since the groundbreaking Hawaii marriage case, the experience of other states such as Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Jersey – as well as several countries -- has been that civil unions are no substitute for marriage. I urge Governor Lingle to swiftly sign House Bill 444 into law, and to Hawaii continuing its journey and finishing the job by ending the denial of marriage."

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