Gubernatorial candidates were quick to react to Gov. Linda Lingle’s decision to veto the civil unions bill.
Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, a Republican, said: “I commend Governor Lingle for making this difficult and courageous decision.
“Leadership matters, and the election of our next Governor will help determine how the issue of same-sex marriage is handled in the future.
“As I have always said, this issue will persist as long as lawmakers continue to keep the public from deciding whether marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“If elected governor, I will propose a constitutional amendment on this issue so the people can define marriage once and for all.”
Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, said:
“Gov. Lingle has made her choice and the Legislature has said it will not go back into a special session for any veto overrides. HB 444 was not a same-sex marriage bill. The State Legislature has already defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Civil unions respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha.
“Now, it will be up to the next governor and Legislature to ensure that all people of Hawaii receive equal treatment. Protecting people’s civil rights cannot be compromised. I am committed to that most essential of constitutional imperatives.”
Mayor Mufi Hannemann, a Democrat, said:
“Now that the governor has decided the fate of House Bill 444, I firmly support steps to let the people of Hawaii have the final say on an issue that has generated passionate perspectives. I continue to believe that marriage between a man and a woman is sacrosanct. That said, as someone who has fought to overcome prejudice, I would also continue to champion the civil rights of all citizens and seek to end discrimination — in employment, housing, health care, and areas where it still exists — irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious preference. If given the opportunity, I know the people of Hawaii will have the wisdom and compassion to make a decision that reflects our values and goals for a fair and open society.”