An uneasy peace on civil unions?

The fight over civil unions seems to have entered the battle-fatigue stage.

Despite extra security and high anxiety among some senators, the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on SB 232, the new vehicle to give gay couples the same legal rights as marrieds, was the most subdued ever on the emotional issue as senators heard divided testimony and then voted 3 to 2 to send the measure to the full Senate for approval.

Demonstrators were scarce, and a hearing that heard 18 hours of often-heated testimony last year was kept to a couple of hours this time, with arguments that were considerably milder in tone.

It seems the result of a strong sense on both sides that it’s a foregone conclusion the measure will pass the Legislature this session and be signed into law by new Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Lawmakers approved similar legislation last year, only to have it vetoed but Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.

The issue was pretty much settled in the November election, when sweeping victories by supporters of civil unions made it obvious that a good majority of voters have no serious problem with extending these rights to gay couples.

With the writing so clearly on the wall, it’s a positive sign that the contentious waters seem to be calming so we can move on to implementing the inevitable changes in a smooth and conscientious manner.

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6 Comments on “An uneasy peace on civil unions?”

  1. 3keys Says:

    David,

    I’ve skimmed this bill. If it passes, will the Catholic Church and Catholic schools in Hawaii be mandated to provide same family member benefits to civil union partners as they currently do for spouses (e.g., medical insurance)?

  2. Craig Smith Says:

    @ 3keys – oh my that would be horrible! They would be required to treat all couples equally. No wait that would be a great thing….

  3. ppcc Says:

    3keys:
    I cannot answer your question, however you bring up another “key” issue that needs to be addressed by our State government. What about the blanket tax exempt status given to religious organizations in Hawaii*. Given our constitution is based on separation of church and Hawaii will have a >$800 million deficit in 2 yrs, seems religious organizations need to pay their FAIR share of taxes like all the rest of the Hawaii residents who are paying taxes.

    *example:
    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2010/Apr/12/ln/hawaii4120349.html

  4. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    I doubt seriously if any anti-civil unions church or organization would hire a homosexual person. However, if they did, then yes, they would have to provide benefits under the law.

    What a wonderful world this would be!!!

  5. 3keys Says:

    The Catholic Church and Catholic schools cannot and will not ask the sexual orientation of someone applying for a job w/ them. However, if this bill would mandate the same benefits to same sex civil union couples, then this appears to be making the Catholic Church and schools go against their religious beliefs. This would seem to be discriminatory against this religious faith. I would liken it to mandating a Catholic hospital like St. Francis to adminster abortions.


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