Monday, February 01, 2010
Next round for civil unions in Hawaii looks like a court challenge
by Larry Geller
Voters may or may not take revenge against House members who refused to vote for HB444, the civil unions bill, killing it again this session. But the issue may be very much alive at election time if a court challenge goes forward as announced today.
A formidable legal team has been assembled for this project. Lambda Legal will be lead counsel, the ACLU of Hawaii will be co-counsel and the law firm of Alston, Hunt, Floyd and Ing will serve as cooperating attorneys, according to the announcement.
While legislators were apparently concerned about backlash from church groups should they pass a civil union measure this session, advocates have pointed out that the current economic situation has heightened the need for the protections that HB444 would have provided. While the opposition has directed their attack against same-sex couples, the bill would have benefitted opposite-sex couples as well, for example, seniors who seek protection for the family home against nursing home costs.
To stay informed about the progress of this case and other ACLU activities, you can tune in to ACLU’s Twitter here.