Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Legislation approving civil unions was approved, somewhat unexpectedly, in the Hawaii legislature last week. Now all speculation turns toward whether Republican governor Linda Lingle will veto the bill.
Lingle has long avoided saying whether she would veto the measure or allow it to become law. She has until
"She's kept it very close to the vest," said Dennis Arakaki, executive director of the Hawaii Family Forum and Hawaii Catholic Conference. "She won't let us know how she feels about it. Now we'll know. ... The ball is in her court."
He's sending e-mails to churches and text messages to supporters urging them to contact the governor's office to let her know how they feel about the issue.
Civil union backers will send handwritten letters and postcards to Lingle in addition to e-mails and phone calls asking her to approve the legislation, said Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign.
"It's going to be important to keep up the pressure on the governor in order to demonstrate that there is support for this bill and for treating all families equally," Wagner said.
In addition, civil union supporters will likely take to the streets to wave signs as drivers pass by, he said.
Lingle has sent mixed signals: She wanted lawmakers to drop the issue because the state had more pressing budget matters to deal with, but she also said representatives should have put their votes on the record when they postponed a decision on the measure in January.
Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor this fall, wants the bill vetoed.
"If the Legislature wanted to establish the equivalent of same-sex marriage, they should have put it on the ballot for the people to decide," Aiona said in a statement. "This bill should not be allowed to become law."
Although Lingle has until July 6 to make a decision, her intentions will be known sooner. She must send the Legislature a list of bills that she'll potentially veto by June 22. Measures not on that list would become law, either with or without her signature.
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