The Maui Time, an alternative weekly on Maui, now knows the cover of its next edition as Governor Linda Lingle vetoes a bill approved by the legislature that would have permitted civil unions for same-sex couples. In an afternoon news conference, Lingle announced that is was a “mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual” and rejected the bill that was approved after a vote by the 76 members of the Hawaii House and Senate.
Facing a deadline, the Maui paper produced dueling covers with “Fail” and “Redemption” over the face of Lingle, a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democrat state. The covers were tweeted by the paper’s publisher, Tommy Russo.
The legislature approved the civil union bill, that Lingle described as “marriage by another name,” earlier this year and she had until today to issue a veto. The bill would have granted same-sex couples the same rights and benefits that the state provides to married couples. It also would have made Hawaii one of six states to grant rights similar to marriage to same-sex couples without allowing marriage itself.
Although the bill passed with veto-proof margins, legislative leaders announced before the governor’s announcement that they would not try to override the veto. The next step, it appears, is a court battle with the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal poised to challenge the constitutionality of the veto.
“We’re obviously disappointed that Governor Lingle has, once again, used her power to deny the people of Hawaii their civil rights” Laurie Temple, Staff Attorney for the ACLU, said in a statement. “Luckily for the people of Hawaii, however, our constitution prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation. If the Governor won’t honor her oath to uphold the constitution, the courts will.”
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