Monday, January 18, 2010

Thousands in Honolulu rally against same-sex civil unions bill

According to the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star Bulletin, thousands of marriage-equality opponents rallied yesterday in Hawai'i's capitol to oppose HB 444 on civil unions. (In my earlier post, I have more to say about the legislation and the range of views on civil unions.) The turnout was "significantly smaller than the 24,000 that organizers [of Hawai'i Family Forum] had targeted." (Honolulu Advertiser) The rally occurred as the state Senate convenes this week and prepares for a vote on the legislation. The state House may take no action if the legislation does not pass in the Senate by a two-thirds majority required to override a veto. It's unlikely that the legislation will reach the governor's desk. (Star Bulletin)

If enacted, HB 444 would represent the same kind of "all-but-marriage" law at issue in the Perry case. Plaintffs and expert witnesses have testified on the harmful effects of California's domestic partnership law. Their testimony challenges the idea that a separate, "parallel" status for same-sex couples can in any way "equal" marriage. So it may seem odd that some marriage-equality opponents - including the Hawai'i Family Forum protesters - see no distinction between civil unions and marriage. But they contest any type of legal union for same-sex couples, whose relationships they consider "sinful" and unworthy of state sanction.

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