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.