Hawaii House Passes Civil Unions Bill, Moves to Senate
February 13, 2009 by Bryan
The bill, which now moves to the state Senate, would grant partners in civil unions the same benefits, protections and responsibilities as married couples under state law. The state would also recognize civil unions, domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Partners in civil unions would not have the same protections as married couples under federal law, so the recognition is a rung below treating homosexual and heterosexual couples equally.
The House vote was 33-17 with one lawmaker excused, one vote shy of a veto-proof supermajority. The lawmaker who missed the vote, state Rep. K. Mark Takai, D-34th (Newtown, Waiau, Pearl City), who is preparing to deploy with the Hawai’i Army National Guard to Kuwait, supports civil unions.
State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), said yesterday she believes there are enough votes in the Senate for civil unions if the bill moves out of the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee. The committee is currently divided 3-2 in favor of civil unions, with state Sen. Robert Bunda, D-22nd (North Shore, Wahiawa), undecided.