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It’s taken nine weeks of deliberation, and hearing from religious leaders and gay advocates, and now Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has decided — on the last possible day — the fate of the state’s civil unions bill, House Bil 444: It’s a no.
Lingle is vetoing the bill, effectively killing its chances as House leadership acknowledged they don’t have the votes to override her veto; the Senate reportedly does. Lingle announced her decision today at 3pm local time at a press conference. Signing the bill would have added Hawaii to to the list of states with civil union laws, which include California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.
A civil union “is essentially ‘marriage’ by another name,” Lingle says, adding, “I want to be clear that my personal opinion is not the basis” for her decision; Lingle does not personally believe gay marriage should be legal. There is no piece of legislation she has thought “more deeply about” than HB 444, but ultimately it is voters and not lawmakers who should have the final say, she says.
“I feel very comfortable with my decision.”