Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie urges state legislators to support civil unions
February 25, 2009
As reported earlier today, the Hawaii State Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations held a hearing on legislation to grant civil unions but was unable to resolve a tie vote of 3-3, stalling the legislation from moving forward. Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D), who scored a perfect 100% on HRC's scorecard for the last four congressional sessions, submitted written testimony to the Senate committee in support of the civil unions bill:
The most basic reasoning behind my support is that this bill offers homosexuals equality under the law and ensures basic human rights. When we deny law-abiding citizens the rights and privileges offered to citizens based on an innate quality, we are committing discrimination. The gay and lesbian citizens of Hawaii are good citizens; they pay taxes, and follow laws. It is shameful that while they must give their equal share to the government, the government will not give them equal protection. Hawaii is one of the most diverse places on Earth. We produced the nation’s first minority President. We elected the first woman of color to Congress. How can we allow discrimination to a population based on who they love? Hawaii should be a beacon for the rest of the nation, and be among the few states who offer equal rights to all its citizens. Beyond the equal protection of the law, passing HB 444 would enhance Hawaii’s image of aloha and acceptance of all people, and increase tourism to Hawaii. States that have passed civil union laws have experienced increased tourism as couples looking for civil unions arrive in these states. This increases revenues for our tourism industry, and in turn revenue for the State. This bill makes economic and moral sense. The economic argument is supplemental in my view. The more important result of this bill would be the granting of full rights to all Hawaii’s citizens. I believe that you have a chance to change a policy in Hawaii that has created two classes of citizens: those with full rights and privileges and those without. HB 444 ensures that Hawaii extends equal rights to all of its citizens. I believe it is the right thing to do and urge the committee to pass the bill.
While some anti-LGBT opponents like Honolulu City Councilmember Gary Okino may wrongly consider civil unions to be a "real threat to the state of Hawaii," Congressman Abercrombie and other supporters know that civil unions actually strengthen couples and families--and the local economy to boot.
May 18, 2013