A bill that would offer gay and lesbian
couples identical benefits and responsibilities to marriage goes
before a Hawaii House panel on Tuesday, the AP reported.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold
a public hearing on the civil unions measure on Tuesday starting at
2:15PM in the House conference room auditorium.
The measure sailed through the Senate
in the final week of January. The Senate Judiciary Committee
approved the measure with a 3-2 vote on Tuesday and by Friday the
full Senate had agreed with a 19 to 6 vote.
A nearly identical bill was approved
last year by the Legislature, but then-Governor Linda Lingle, a
Republican, vetoed the measure.
Lingle's lieutenant governor, James
“Duke” Aiona, who agreed with Lingle's decision and pledged to
back an amendment that would ban government recognition of all gay
unions, was defeated by Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie on
November 2, paving the way for a renewed push for the legislation
Abercrombie has pledged to sign the
civil unions bill into law.
In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled
in favor of gay marriage advocates but allowed lawmakers to decide on
If approved, Hawaii would become the
third state to offer the union behind New Jersey and Illinois, whose
governor signed a similar measure into law last month.