Same-sex marriages & civil unions
|"I [God] hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no
delight in your solemn assemblies...but let justice roll down like the waters and
righteousness like a mighty stream." Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), Amos
||"Individual rights run amok can cause great
harm to other individuals and, in particular, to families. There has to be a balance
between individual rights and community rights. We cannot just sit back and allow a few to
impose their morals on us." An anti-same-sex marriage statement by Pro-Family
Hawaii who oppose equal rights and protection for loving, committed same-sex couples and their children. |
It is perhaps logical that the first move towards same-sex marriages in the
U.S. occurred in Hawaii.
Aikane, close male societal and sexual relationships, were an accepted part
of ancient Hawai'ian culture, until terminated after the arrival of Christian missionaries. Also, the
state currently has probably the greatest diversity of religious belief and racial heritage in the
United States. Only about 34% of the Hawaiian population considers itself Judeo-Christian.
This compares with about 75% in the rest of the U.S.
Although the attempt to create same-sex marriages failed during the 1990s, the legislature passed a bill creating civil unions on 2010-APR-30. It would have given same-sex or opposite-sex couples -- and their children -- the same state rights and protections that married people receive. Governor Lingle vetoed the bill, hours before her authority to do so ended. Although the bill had passed with comfortable majorities, the margin in the House was insufficient to override her veto.
By exercising her veto, she is in violation of a state Supreme Court 1993 decision. They ruled that the Legislature could not discriminate by denying same-sex couples any of the state-given rights of marriage. However, the state does not actually have to allow same-sex couples to marry. Civil unions with the same rights as marriage would have sufficed.
By vetoing the bill, she has violated her oath of office to uphold the Hawaiian Constitution. A lawsuit and/or legislative action was inevitable.
The Hawaii Senate passed a new civil unions bill by a vote of 19 to 6 in early 2011-FEB. On FEB-11, the House passed a slightly revised bill by a vote of 31 to 19. It went back to the Senate who passed the House version on FEB-16. The new Governor, Neil Abercrombie (D) signed it into law. It took effect on 2012-JAN-01 in spite of a last-ditch effort by two fundamentalist Christian churches to have the law declared unconstitutional.
An information sheet discussing civil unions: "Here's How It Works, What It Means & How To Do It!" is provided by Equality Hawai'i. See: http://www.equalityhawaii.org/
Topics covered in this section:
Attempt to legalize same-sex marriage:
Attempt to legalize civil unions:
- 2007: Proposed legalization of civil unions
- 2009: Second try to legalize civil unions
- 2010: Bill passes legislature:
- 2011: Civil Union bill signed into law:
- 2011-2012: Court case launched in Federal Court, attempting legalize same-sex marriage:
Copyright © 1996 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1997-JUL-11
Latest update: 2012-AUG-09
Author: B.A. Robinson