The bill would have allowed same sex couples and non-married heterosexual couples the same rights that married straight couples have. Governor Lingle vetoed the bill on her final day to do so, after it passed both houses of the Hawaii Congress.
Her statements on vetoing the bill:
“After months of listening to Hawaii’s citizens express to me in writing and in person their deeply held beliefs and heartfelt reasons for supporting or opposing the civil-unions bill, I have made the decision to veto the bill,” Lingle said in a press conference at the Capitol building that was streamed live online. “I have been open and consistent to my opposition to same-gender marriage and find that the bill is essentially marriage by another name. My personal opinion is not the basis for my decision … Neither is my veto based on my religious beliefs … I am vetoing this bill because I have become convinced that this issue is of such of societal importance that it deserves to be decided by all the people in Hawaii.”
Lingle was Hawaii’s first female governor. The legislature will not attempt to override her veto, citing insufficient votes in the House. Five US States currently have civil union-like laws on the books, and five states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.