Hawaii Senate Kills Civil Union Bill

hd11In a bit of procedural wrangling, a move to force a vote on same-sex civil unions in Hawaii failed, even though a majority of the Senators supported the bill. The result is that the legislation has effectively been killed, since it’s stuck in committee on a tie vote. Lawmakers are hopeful they can revise the bill, but next year would be the soonest they could hope to take up the issue again.

The AP writes:

“The vote on the legislative maneuver fell three short of the nine required for a full Senate vote. About 18 of the 25 senators had indicated they support civil unions, but they lacked the political willpower to go against Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and most of her leadership team, which opposed the effort.

Hanabusa has supported civil unions but said she didn’t want to override the normal lawmaking process by lifting the bill from its committee, where it had stalled on a tie vote.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian Taniguchi said there was still hope that the bill could be amended and revived, but that probably wouldn’t happen until next year.

Dennis Arakaki, executive director of the Hawaii Family Forum, applauded the result.

“It affirms the will of the people,” he said. “Senators realized the impact of this issue. They may have been looking for rationale of how they could either avoid the issue or put it to bed.”