Hawaii Governor Vetoes Civil Unions Bill

The veto by Linda Lingle, a Republican, came after the bill had passed the state house, 31-20, and the state senate, 18-7. Now Lambda Legal will sue for civil unions in state court on state constitutional grounds.

The state constitution was amended in 1998 to give exclusive control over the definition of marriage to the state legislature. The amendment was spurred by the decision of the state supreme court in Baehr v. Lewin, holding that the restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples is a form of sex discrimination.  Because of the amendment, Lambda acknowledges that it cannot sue for SSM under the state constitution. But it will now apparently argue that the amendment does not prevent state courts from ordering the recognition of identical legal rights and obligations under a different status.