Hawaii Senate Passes Civil Union Law; D.C. Judge Bars Same Sex Marriage Referendum

This past week saw two significant victories for the gay and lesbian community.  First, on Friday, the Hawaii State Senate passed a bill allowing civil unions in that state.  The vote in the Hawaii Senate was 18-7.  The matter must still be considered by the Hawaii State House of Representatives, which is widely expected to pass the measure.

If passed by the Hawaii House, the measure will then go to Governor Linda Lingle‘s desk.  Lingle is a Republican known for her support of former President George W. Bush.  It is possible that Lingle may veto the civil unions bill.  However, the Democratic super-majority in Hawaii may have enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto.

The second victory comes from the District of Columbia.  There, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith N. Macaluso affirmed a D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics decision which disallowed a ballot proposal to outlaw same sex marriage in the District of Columbia.  In the District of Columbia, ballot measures that discriminate against minority groups, including gays and lesbians, is forbidden by the D.C. Human Rights Act.

The ballot proposal to outlaw same sex marriages in D.C. is backed by a local church group.  The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has twice refused the ballot measure because it discriminates against gays and lesbians.

In her 23-page decision, Macaluso stated the board “properly rejected the proposed initiative” because of the Human Rights Act.

For further discussion of the developments in D.C., you can link to an excellent article from The Washington Post here.

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