Unfortunately, the Civil Unions bill (HB444), which I supported, is often confused with other issues. To clarify its purpose and my reason for supporting it, here’s a summary of the key points:
The bill did not:
1. Legalize gay marriage.
2. Change the definition of “marriage,” which is reserved for a man and a woman.
3. Require any church official or anyone else to perform the civil unions.
The bill did:
4. Protect the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens, ensuring that all persons are treated equally, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s gender.
5. Support the 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples deserve the same protection under the law as heterosexual couples.
6. Extend spousal benefits and responsibilities to partners.