Governor Lingle holds roundtables on civil unions bill

Governor Lingle holds roundtables on civil unions bill
Tambry Young
Tambry Young
Elwin Ahu
Elwin Ahu
Gov. Linda Lingle
Gov. Linda Lingle

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One week ago, Gov. Linda Lingle said she needed more information before deciding on state House Bill 444.

Monday she began two days of face-to-face meetings behind closed doors.

"I was always optimistic that it would be addressed because an issue such as this one should never be just let go," said Tambry Young of Equality Hawaii, which favors the bill.

Supporters and opponents of civil unions said some of the discussion will center on whether the bill is legally sound.

"There are some concerns the way the bill is worded, some ramifications and consequences that will come about because of it," said Elwin Ahu, pastor at New Hope Christian Fellowship Oahu and an opponent of civil unions.

"I think there is nothing insurmountable legally about the bill," Young said.

The measure passed the state House of Representatives in a surprise move on the final day of the legislature.

Since the vote, Lingle's office has been swamped with thousands of e-mails, phone calls and faxes.

"I think it does show that this is an important issue to many people throughout the state. Again we would go back to the importance of providing equal justice for all the families," Young said.

The bill gives same-sex and heterosexual partners the rights, benefits, and protections of marriage.

"We don't see it as a battlefield of one against another.  We're just looking for what is right for the community. What is the best, given the time and circumstances we live in," Ahu said.

Lingle's spokesman Russell Pang said that the governor will weigh the views of the bill's advocates and opponents before making her final decision.

"I believe she's a fair individual and will look at this and take everything into consideration," Young said.

"I believe the governor is a very intelligent woman. She has already studied the issues," Ahu said.

Lingle must tell lawmakers which bills she'll veto by June 21.  July 6 is the last day she'll have to sign HB 444, veto it, or let it become law without her signature.

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