The Senate passed the bill on an 18-7 vote, moving it to the House and signaling that the Senate's Democratic majority has enough votes to override a possible veto from Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
The House has yet to decide if it will vote on the bill. House leaders say they will take up the bill if they have a veto-proof two-thirds majority but may let it die if they have only a small majority.
"It's very close," said Democratic Speaker of the House Calvin Say. "During an election year, this issue is so divisive that it may hurt many of our members."
The bill would grant gay and straight couples the same rights and benefits the state provides to married couples.
[For the full article, see here.]
Civil Unions are no substitute for Marriage! As long as same-sex couples are denied the label of "marriage," their love is considered to be different and even inferior to the love of heterosexual couples, and that state of affairs must be unacceptable to all those who seek equality for same-sex couples and for all LGBT people.
It is a great mistake to settle for second best, and for crumbs of incrementalism, hoping against hope that civil unions will eventually lead the way toward marriage. The fact is that to the degree that same-sex couples settle for civil unions, it's to that degree that marriage rights will be retarded.
Unless the designation of "marriage" is removed from all hitherto heterosexually married couples, and their relationship status substituted with the designation of "civil unions," same-sex couples should settle for nothing less than the dignity that heterosexually married couples currently enjoy by being recognized as "married," both civilly and sacramentally.
There is absolutely no reason why same-sex couples should be treated any differently than heterosexual couples, and to allow such a difference, to settle for such a difference, is to acknowledge that same-sex love is different from, and even inferior to, heterosexual love, and same-sex love doesn't deserve the dignity that heterosexually married couples enjoy.
And that state of affairs must never be allowed to exist if we are truly intent on equality for same-sex couples and LGBT people!