"The Senate voted 18 to 7 to pass a civil-unions bill. The bill now moves to the House for consideration with a veto-proof majority. The bill would give same-sex and heterosexual couples the ability to enter into civil unions and receive the same state rights as marriage. The Senate gallery was overflowing with people as the Senate prepared to vote. Sen. Kidani offered a floor amendment to change the effective date of the civil-unions bill from Jan. 1, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2011. Kidani said the amendment is to correct a technical flaw and would give the Department of Health more time to implement civil unions. A retroactive date would not make the bill legally invalid, but could invite a veto by Gov. Lingle on technical grounds. Amending the bill could also delay its passage and allow opponents to put more pressure on Democrat senators who appeared ready to pass the bill today. Sen. Ihara, who supports civil unions, said he felt compelled to correct the technical flaw to remove a reason for a veto."Read HRC's Backstory on how the vote went down. All this, even after the major anti-LGBT protest against the civil unions bill.
The pressure is on the House now to pass the bill. They actually passed a similar bill last year, so hopefully we can get a repeat performance. A decision will be made next week whether they will take up the measure.
Go to Equality Hawaii to get involved.