Hawaii postpones civil unions bill indefinitely

January 29, 2010

Last year the civil unions bill passed the Hawaii House by a vote of 33-to 17. One week ago, the Senate passed the bill 18-7. But on Friday the House voted to postpone indefinitely the civil unions bill for gay and heterosexual couples. Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, who was co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case, Baehr v. Miike, which started the whole thing, said:

Losing ground? No way. We don’t win every battle, and we definitely need to strengthen our reaching out to more Americans to bring them into our cause (which is what Freedom to Marry’s expansion is all about). But after a decade of inaction, we got both houses of the Hawaii legislature to pass a civil union bill, just not in sync — and remember, when we started this movement in Hawaii, there was no place in the world where same-sex couples could marry. Now we’ve got five states, our nation’s capital, eight countries, and more shimmering within reach.

The Democratic president [Bill Clinton] who signed the so-called “DOMA” as we were doing the trial in Hawaii now supports the freedom to marry and has called for “DOMA”’s repeal, as did the Republican congressman [Bob Barr] who wrote it.

More than a hundred million Americans now live in a state that provides some level of statewide recognition of same-sex couples and their families — up from virtually zero a decade ago.

We have a lot more to do, as Freedom to Marry works to build a majority for marriage, win more states, and build toward a federal victory…but by any historical measure, we’ve gained and are gaining ground, and the future is ours. [Link]