HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii's governor on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have permitted same-sex civil unions, ending months of speculation on how she would weigh in on the contentious, emotional debate.
Republican Gov. Linda Lingle's action came on the final day she had to either sign or veto the bill, which the Hawaii Legislature approved in late April.
"There has not been a bill I have contemplated more or an issue I have thought more deeply about during my eight years as governor than House Bill 444 and the institution of marriage," Lingle said at a news conference. "I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-sex marriage, and find that House Bill 444 is essentially same sex marriage by another name."
Had Lingle not vetoed it, the measure would have granted gay and lesbian couples the same rights and benefits that the state provides to married couples. It also would have made Hawaii one of six states that essentially grant the rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself. Five other states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage.
Lingle's decision is expected to be the last say on the proposal this year, because state House leaders have said they won't override any of Lingle's vetoes.
She said voters should decide the fate of civil unions, not politicians.
"It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials," Lingle said.
Nope. We don't want some "small group of elected officials" making decisions for us. Because, that would be like -- what do they call it? Oh yeah ... representative democracy. The kind you have when you're a republic. Which the last time I checked, we still were. But then, the last time I checked we also had a Constitution that promised equal protection to all Americans -- not just straight ones. So maybe I need to go back and retake Poli Sci 101.
(If you want to read the rest of the AP article, it's here.)