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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 30, 2010

Backers, opponents of Hawaii civil-unions bill mobilizing support

Advertiser Staff

Opponents and supporters of civil unions say they're flooding the governor's office with phone calls, e-mails and faxes in the wake of yesterday's historic civil unions vote.

"It's time for action," said civil unions opponent Garret Hashimoto, of the Hawaii Christian Coalition. "Definitely everybody's flooding the governor's office. That's our next step and only hope to defeat this civil unions bill."

Don Bentz, of Equality Hawaii, said supporters of civil unions are also reaching out to the governor and to legislators.

"We will be making sure our voices are heard," he said.

Meanwhile, neither side is planning any public rallies, though supporters will hold a celebration Sunday at Kapiolani Park, next to the archery range, starting at 4 p.m.

Opponents say they'll get their message out to churches, and are hopeful the issue will be a topic of discussion at Sunday services.

In a 31-20 vote yesterday, State House lawmakers approved House Bill 444, which would give same-sex and heterosexual couples the ability to enter into civil unions and enjoy the same rights as married couples under state law.

The followed a decision by state House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro, the bill's sponsor, to revive civil unions on the last day of the 60-day session.

The bill is now before Gov. Linda Lingle, who had urged lawmakers not to consider civil unions this session and instead focus on the state's budget deficit and economic recovery.

Lingle, a Republican, has not said whether she would sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without her signature.

She has 45 days until July 6 to make a decision.