In announcing her decision
to veto a civil unions bill approved by lawmakers, Hawaii
Governor Linda Lingle insisted she had treated supporters of a civil
unions bill with “respect and dignity.” But in her first
interview since that announcement, Lingle likened gay marriage to an
Saying the legislation had “touched
the hearts and minds of our citizens as no other social issue of our
day,” Lingle sounded concerned about how the bill would affect all
the people of Hawaii.
“I hope that the citizens on both
sides of this issue have felt that I've treated them with respect and
dignity throughout this process,” she told reporters on Thursday.
In a radio interview Friday, Lingle
defended her decision and rejected the idea that legal recognition of
gay unions is a civil rights issue.
“For those people who want to make
this into a civil rights issue, and of course those in favor of the
bill, they see it as a civil rights issue,” she said. “And I
understand them drawing that conclusion. But people on the other
side would point out, well, we don't allow other people to marry even
– it's not a civil right for them. First cousins couldn't marry,
or a brother and a sister and that sort of thing.”
“It really can't be a civil right if
we are restricting it in other cases, and it's been found to be legal
in those other cases, that the restrictions.”
Eight years ago, candidate Lingle said
she would not veto a bill that recognizes gay and lesbian unions with
“On the issue of domestic
partnerships, I have stated that if the Legislature [should] pass
legislation granting certain rights, I would not veto that
legislation,” Lingle answered PBS moderator Linda Taira during a
Lingle argued that the proposed civil
unions bill was too similar to marriage.
groups have announced they will continue the fight in court.