House indefinitely postpones action on Hawaii civil-unions bill
The state House voted today to indefinitely postpone action on a civil-unions bill this session.
The voice vote defers any action on the bill unless two-thirds of lawmakers vote to bring the bill back for consideration.
Several gay activists in the House gallery chanted "roll call!" But the House quickly moved on to other items on the agenda. Some activists screamed "shame!" as they filed out of the gallery, and the House broke for recess.
The state Senate last Friday passed a civil-unions bill that would give same-sex and heterosexual couples the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as marriage under state law.
The state House had voted 33-17 last session for a civil-unions bill that only applied to same-sex couples.
Support for the bill in the House slipped out of concern with taking another vote during an election year.
“This is a temporary victory that only seeks to delay a meaningful decision on traditional marriage," said Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, in a statement released following the House action. “The State Legislature will continue to play political hot potato with the institution of marriage until the people of Hawai‘i are allowed to vote on it once and for all.”