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Hawaii House Kills Civil-Union Bill that Passed Senate

Hawaii’s House of Representatives killed a civil-union bill in an unrecorded voice vote Jan. 29.

The measure, which extends all state-level rights and obligations of marriage to gay and straight civil-union couples, had passed the Senate 18-7 on Jan. 22.

Last year, the House had passed the bill 33-17, but Senate tinkering with the measure’s language made it necessary for the House to vote again.

Reports said legislators may have been reluctant to deal with the issue in an election year.
Republican Gov. Linda Lingle had not taken a position on the bill, but the Senate vote on it was veto-proof.
The House needs 34 votes to override a veto. Last year, when 33 legislators voted for the measure, one member who favors the bill was absent.

The bill states, in part, “A party to a civil union shall be included in any definition or use of the terms ‘spouse,’ ‘family,’ ‘immediate family,’ ‘dependent,’ ‘next of kin’ and other terms that denote the spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law.”

The measure could be reconsidered in the House this year, but only if two-thirds of legislators vote to reopen the matter.

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