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

Senate passes civil-unions bill

Sen. Gary Hooser Sen. Gary Hooser
Sen. Sam Slom Sen. Sam Slom
Tambry Young Tambry Young
Dennis Arakaki Dennis Arakaki
Rep. Calvin Say Rep. Calvin Say

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -- The state Senate vote on civil unions drew hundreds of supporters and opponents. They sat side by side in the gallery but were miles apart on the issue.

It was the same on the Senate floor where lawmakers argued for and against the controversial measure..

"Regardless of religion or ethnicity, man or woman, gay or straight -- all people deserve to be treated equally with the same respect, the same freedom, the same dignity, the same rights and benefit under the law," said Sen. Gary Hooser, D-7th (Kauai, Niihau).

"Does this really have to do with civil rights? If you talk to people the answer is a clear no. The issue has to do with money and benefits and trying to be like another group," said Sen. Sam Slom, D-8th (Hawaii Kai, Aina Haina, Kahala, Diamond Head).

House Bill 444 would give gay and opposite sex partners the same rights the state provides married couples.

Opponents insist its same-sex marriage by another name while supporters state it's a matter of civil rights.

The bill needed thirteen "yes" votes to pass It passed by an 18 to 7 count.

"It's a great day for the GLBT community and for the Senate for showing their support for all of the diverse people we have here in the state," said Tambry Young, co-chair of Equality Hawaii.

"Even though they're saying it's not going to affect traditional marriage, eventually it will, especially now that they've created alternatives to marriage for heterosexual couples as well," Hawaii Family Forum executive director Dennis Arakaki said.

The measure now goes back to the House of Representatives where it passed last year but is now seen as a divisive issue.

"There's a solid group that supports, a solid group that opposes, and there are a lot of members now who are in between. So that's where we're trying to figure out where the in-betweens are," said House Speaker Rep. Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Maunalani Heights).

The House majority caucus meets on Monday.


Here is how the vote was divided:



Baker (D)

Chun Oakland (D)

English (D)

Fukunaga (D)

Galuteria (D)

Green (D)

Hanabusa (D)

Hee (D)

Hooser (D)

Ige (D)

Ihara, Jr. (D)

Kidani (D)

Kokubun (D)

Nishihara (D)

Takamine (D)

Taniguchi (D)

Tokuda (D)

Tsutsui (D)



Bunda (D)

Espero (D)

Gabbard (D)

Hemmings (R)

Kim (D)

Sakamoto (D)

Slom (R)



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