More businesses speak out on civil unions - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

More businesses speak out on civil unions

Adrian Matanza Adrian Matanza

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

The governor has exactly one week to decide on the civil union's bill.  In the meantime more businesses are making their beliefs known on the subject, including the Hawaii Business Roundtable, which initially called for a veto but not all of its members agreed with.

In the original letter to the governor the Hawaii Business Roundtable "respectfully recommends the veto of house bill 444."  That touched off a bit of concern from some of the roundtables 49 members, some of which do not support a veto.

In response the Roundtable Executive Director Gary Kai issued a second letter saying "Unfortunately the use of the word veto has become equivalent to some, as a position against civil unions. We would like to make it clear that the Hawaii Business Roundtable opposes any form of discrimination, including any based on race, religion, political or sexual orientation."

Equality Hawaii and the Human Rights Campaign contacted all the members of the Hawaii Business Roundtable and heard back from 23 repudiating the call for a veto.

"So it's really just contacting the business themselves and asking them look do you really agree with the letter or do you support equal rights for same sex couples," said Adrian Matanza, Human Rights Campaign Field Organizer.

Some of those businesses that Equality Hawaii says it heard from include Hawaiian Electric, City Mill, Foodland, Hawaiian Telcom, Alexander and Baldwin and Bank of Hawaii. 

In an email to Equality Hawaii, Bank of Hawaii CEO Al Landon said he agreed with the Hawaii Business Roundtable that there could be administrative challenges from the bill, but they are manageable.  He also wrote "as an organization, Bank of Hawaii supports workforce diversity and fair treatment of all individuals.  We have offered domestic partner benefits since 1998."

Activists aren't stopping with businesses.  They also collected 7,000 post cards from people who support civil unions and will deliver them to the governor tomorrow.

"It's good for families.  It's good for communities.  It's good for business," said Matanza, reading from the post card people signed.

While the Hawaii Business Roundtable says it has no position on civil unions it still has concerns with the technical issues as to implementing benefits retroactively from January 1, 2010.  It's also worried about what happens if a civil union couple divorces and wonders if the ex-spouse would still be entitled to benefits.

But the roundtable says it is up to each of its members to make up their own mind just like the governor will have to do by July 6.

Below is the list of Hawaii Business Roundtable members that Equality Hawaii says have repudiated the call for veto:

Alexander and Baldwin, Inc.

Aon Risk Services, Inc. of Hawaii

Bank of Hawaii

Castle Medical Center

City Mill Company, Ltd.

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

DFS U.S. Group

Foodland Supermarkets, Ltd.

Hawaii Medical Services Association

Hawaii National Bank

Hawaii Pacific Health

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI)

Hawaiian Telcom

James Campbell Company LLC

Kaiser Foundation

Kyo-ya Co. (Sheraton Waikiki)

Marriott International, Inc.

Marsh and McLennan Inc. - Honolulu

Oceanic Cablevision, Inc.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts

University of Hawaii

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly