Senate kills civil unions bill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Senate kills civil unions bill

Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser
Frances McGee Frances McGee
Paulette Williams Paulette Williams
Virginia Braceros Virginia Braceros
Michael Doyle Michael Doyle

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It was an emotional day for supporters and opponents of the civil unions bill. Wednesday afternoon, the senate voted to kill the one chance the stalled bill had of surviving.

It's a victory and a loss.

"The people who have worked so hard to get it to where it is today deserve to have it discussed," Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser told the senate.

But his attempt to pull the civil unions bill out of committee and onto the floor for a full senate vote failed, with six for it, and 18 senators against it.

That brought both tears of joy, and disappointment. Under the bill, same-sex couples still couldn't get married, but they would get marital benefits.

"It means equality, it means treating people the way that you want someone else to be treated," said Frances McGee, who supports the bill.

"They call prejudice, they call bigotry, they call all these things, it's not like I don't know those things. I know how to recognize civil rights, I know how to recognize those things. This is not about that," said Paulette Williams, an opponent of the bill.

The issue has both political and religious emotions running high.

"We are opposing civil unions because it's in the Bible," said Virginia Braceros, an opponent of the bill.

"I understand that according to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin but me getting married to someone of the same sex does not affect other people," said Michael Doyle, a civil unions supporter.

While the bill is dead this session, the movement is still alive.

"We are going to be back year after year until everyone is treated equality in this state," said Alan Spector of the Family Equality Coalition.

And for every attempt, opponents say they'll huddle together and fight it each time.

Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona calls the senate vote a victory.

In a statement, he says:

"I have said from the beginning that House Bill 444 attempts to circumvent the will of the people by authorizing same-sex marriage under a different name."

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