What could happen after the civil union veto

Rep. Kymberly Marcos Pine
Rep. Kymberly Marcos Pine

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Governor Linda Lingle's veto of civil unions will stick despite a last minute push by some House members to go over the Democratic leadership's head.  The deadline for lawmakers had to convene for a special session by noon today.  Sources say about 22 members broke into the House chamber and called for an override session, but they still fell at least four votes short.

Meanwhile senators did have the votes needed to override the veto, but it didn't matter since the House did not have the votes.

That is why some are already looking at what's next.  There are two ways for civil unions to get on a ballot.  Lawmakers would first have to agree on a question.  Then both the House and Senate would have to pass it by a two thirds majority, which lawmakers admit would be difficult to get.  They could also pass the vote by a simple majority two sessions in a row to accomplish the same thing.

Some Democrats say civil rights issues shouldn't be put to a public vote at all.

"This is a question of protecting minority rights. If you look historically at slavery if we would have had a majority vote to abolish slavery we would not have abolished slavery.  It took the courage of legislators, the courage of a president, it took a war actually, but it would not have happened by popular vote. The same with the rights for women.  If men would have had to vote, the majority of men to give women the right to vote it wouldn't have happened either. So it's inappropriate and it violates the core constitutional principles. Our constitution is written to protect the rights of minorities," said Gary Hooser, (D) Senate Majority Leader who is stepping down to run for Lieutenant Governor.

"We throw out 'let the people decide' all the time but this issue because of how contentious it is, how important marriage is, I think it was an important and right decision," said Lynn Finnegan, (R) House Minority Leader who is stepping down to run for Lieutenant Governor.

Even if both legislative bodies were to pass a ballot question the soonest it would be put to a vote is November 2012.  A quicker option would be for lawmakers to draft another civil union bill and pass it through again next session and hope the new elected governor approves it.

"This election is more important than any other election in recent history for people that truly care about this issue and its result," said Rep. Kymberly Marcos Pine, (R) House Minority Floor Leader.

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