Governor Lingle vetoes civil union bill

Governor Lingle vetoes civil union bill
Opponents of civil unions celebrate Tuesday at the State Capitol
Opponents of civil unions celebrate Tuesday at the State Capitol

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In announcing her veto of HB 444, Gov. Linda Lingle called it maybe the hardest decision she's made in eight years in office.

She said civil unions isn't an issue for just one person to decide.

"Everything had an impact on me. In the end I came to believe that this would be something that I shouldn't decide ultimately by myself. It was something that everyone should have a chance to vote on," she said.

Lingle said she didn't veto the bill based on her personal beliefs on marriage or her religious convictions but on how she believes the language of the bill equates it with marriage.

"I'm saying that HB 444, because of its plain language, is in fact essentially the same because it has all the same rights and responsibilities, benefits and protections," she said.

Lingle took about nine weeks to study the measure, gauge public opinion and invite feedback.

Her office received more than 30,000 phone calls, e-mails and faxes from supporters and opponents of the bill.

"Even though I personally do not support same gender marriage, the reason why I have been going back and forth was the arguments made by the people who supported 444 - not just the depth of feeling that they had on both sides but the persuasiveness of their arguments," she said.

Lingle said she made her decision to veto the bill last week but she waited until the last possible day to announce it because she wanted to give the measure the dignity it deserves.

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