Early today Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a bill which would have allowed civil unions in the state.
She said the issue should be decided directly by voters. Hawaii’s electorate previously approved a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage.
The rejection of civil unions is the second defeat in the last week for civil union and gay marriage proponents. Last week, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court unanimously denied a challenge to the state’s referendum rejecting gay marriage.
Earlier this year gay marriages were recognized in Washington, D.C.
Last fall, a hotly contested amendment passed by Maine legislators approving gay marriage was rejected at the ballot box.
“I am vetoing this bill because I have become convinced that this issue is of such significant societal importance that it deserves to be decided directly by all the people of Hawaii,” Lingle said.
In many ways these turf battles over gay marriage may ultimately prove moot. The case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger challenging California’s Proposition 8 vote which rejected gay marriage is currently awaiting a decision in federal court. It is widely expected to appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
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Countless times have I heard people say, “I don’t care if Gay couples have the same rights as Straight couples, just don’t call it MARRIAGE!” Well FINE, then! This is the exact compromise that the state of Hawaii came up with. And yet it wasn’t good enough for Governor Linda Lingle. She looked down her nose at her Gay constituents and said, “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.” Except, of course, the “issue” of her national political future as a second-term Republican governor from a traditionally liberal state who is barred from running again this year. Surely that one has been contemplated just as much, if not more. I’m sure there are plenty of high-fives going around at the offices of the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and all the other groups that viciously oppose ANY legal benefits for Gay couples in Hawaii or anywhere. So to them, congratulations, you helped issue Gay couples in that state a setback … for now. I still take comfort in knowing that sooner or later Gay and Straight couples in the U.S. will be treated equally. And when that happens, I promise that it will have precisely ZERO impact on your life, your marriage, your church, and your children. Your church will never be forced to marry Gay couples, any more than it is forced to marry non-Christian couples. Public schools will not be forced to “teach” about Gay marriage, any more than they are forced to teach about Straight marriage. And at last, Gay couples will finally be able take part in the legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that our tax dollars have been helping to subsidize throughout the history of this country.