Decision Day in Hawaii

Submitted by The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee 7/6/2010

Decision Day in Hawaii

Today could mark a significant milestone for civil rights in our country.

By the end of the day, a bill that allows both same-sex and heterosexual couples to receive the same protections under law as married couples (HB 444) will be:

A. Signed into law by Governor Linda Lingle,
B. Vetoed by Governor Lingle, or
C. Allowed to become law automatically, without any action by the Governor.

July 6 is the deadline for Governor Lingle to take action on a list of bills she designated in June as ripe for veto. The civil unions bill was on that list.

We helped collect some of the thousands of citizen petitions supporting HB 444, and we were pleased to add them to the voices of local citizens, the business community, and other equal rights supporters from all over the country demanding this important step towards equality.

If this civil unions bill becomes law, seven states and the District of Columbia would either grant full civil marriage equality or recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Another eight states – including Hawaii – would allow same-sex couples to form civil unions or domestic partnerships.

So after today, nearly 108 million Americans could live in states where same-sex couples enjoy legal status and at least some or all of the protections enjoyed by other married couples.

Governor Lingle’s signature on HB 444 – or even her failure to veto it – would be only the most recent example of states outpacing the federal government and forging ahead in the path towards equal rights.

But we’ve seen this before, and that’s what gives us hope. State-based health care reforms led to national health care reform, and state-based clean energy laws are adding momentum for national climate action.

That means the harder states push for equal rights – and more state-level momentum we build – the closer we get to equality for everyone.

One day, America will look back on the fight for equal rights and wonder why it was so difficult. When that day comes, we’ll have the states to thank.


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