Republican gubernatorial candidate
James “Duke” Aiona has promised to back an amendment banning gay
marriage in the Hawaii Constitution.
In 1998, voters approved a
constitutional amendment granting the state Legislature the power to
reserve marriage as a heterosexual union. Civil unions remain an
option. The decision overruled a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling
that favored gay marriage advocates.
Aiona, who currently serves as the
state's lieutenant governor, said if elected he would propose a
constitutional amendment in 2012 to ask voters whether marriage
should be defined as a union between one man and one woman, the Star
Lawmakers last session narrowly
approved a bill that recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil
unions, but Republican Governor Linda Lingle vetoed the measure.
In announcing her decision, Lingle said
that she believes civil unions are “essentially same sex marriage
by another name.”
Aiona agrees, meaning his amendment
will likely attempt to ban any recognition of gay unions, including
Openly gay House Majority Leader Blake
Oshiro has promised to reintroduce his civil unions legislation in
the next session, if reelected.
Democrat Neil Abercrombie has said that
he will sign the civil unions bill into law if he becomes governor.
The former congressman supported the 1998 constitutional amendment
that allows lawmakers to define marriage.
“It was a bill about civil rights and
responsibilities under the constitution, and did not constitute –
in my judgment – anything approaching a revision or recalculation
or redefinition of marriage,” Abercrombie said, referring to the
civil unions bill.