HRC Blog

Hawaii’s Business Community Steps up Support for Civil Unions

Following on the heels of Thursday’s bombshell announcement by HRC that many of the top businesses linked to the infamous Hawaii Business Roundtable (HBR) letter to Governor Lingle urging her to veto HB 444 neither knew about, nor supported the effort, today we’re delivering the following business sign on letter to the Governor. Special thanks go to Don Bentz from Equality Hawaii who’s been working with HRC on this outreach to the business community. Given the major employer announcement Thursday refuting the HBR letter and this powerful statement by dozens of Hawaii’s small and mid-sized businesses, it’s clear that civil unions are good for communities, good for business and good for the economy. Governor Lingle is expected to announce her possible veto list today and if HB 444 is not present, the civil union bill will become law.

The Honorable Linda Lingle Governor of Hawaii Hawaii State Capitol 415 South Beretania Street Honolulu, HI 96813 Dear Governor Lingle, We, the undersigned business owners/managers, write to express our support for the enactment of HB 444, Hawaii’s Civil Unions legislation. In a statement following the passage of the bill by the Hawaii State House of Representatives, you explained that you would listen to all sides of the issue and do what you feel is in the best interest of the future of Hawaii. We would like to take this opportunity to express our belief that treating people equally under the law is right for Hawaii’s people and right for our state’s future. Civil Unions provide necessary protections for couples and families, including rights related to property, state taxes, health care, family leave and adoption. As business owners/managers, we understand how one’s life at home directly affects one’s job performance at work. More times than not, an employee who is struggling to produce the high quality work product that we know they are capable of is distracted by circumstances outside the workplace. Many lesbian and gay couples who have built a family together are still subject to constant concern because they are not treated equally under Hawaii state law. Many of Hawaii's top employers offer benefits to the partners of same-sex employees, as do a majority of America's Fortune 500 companies. In our experience, offering these same types of benefits to employees has increased the ability to attract, recruit, and retain a more talented and diversified workforce. A 2005 Hewitt Association study also found that a majority of employers it surveyed offer benefits to unmarried partners; the majority of these (58 percent) offer benefits to both same-sex and opposite-sex unmarried partners. Finally, demographers have found that the new generation of highly desirable workers are likely to choose where they want to live before looking for a job, and they cite diversity and inclusion as one of the key factors in their decision. Given the overwhelming evidence that a content workforce is a productive workforce, we urge you to make HB 444 the law in the great state of Hawaii. Respectfully, Eric Nakayama, Owner, 80% Straight Joanne Gibeault, Owner, Abracadabra Cabinets, LLC Dr. Natalie Sowers, , Akamai Foot Doctor Bill Duval, Owner, Baci Bistro Blaise Noto, President, Blaise Noto & Associates John Jacob, Esq., Owner, Caffe Giovannini, LLC, dba Tapa's Alicia Carveiro, Owner/CEO, Carveiro's Construction Carsie Green, Chef & Partner, Cinnamon's Restaurant Chezvis Carveiro, Owner/CEO, DrBombs 360 Jade Li, Publisher, eXpression! Magazine Joe Bock, Chief Marketing Officer & Counsel, go! Mokulele Mesa Airlines, Inc. Jerry Chong, President, Graphic Pictures Hawaii Daniel Meier, Owner, Hawaii Psychology Services John Jacob, Esq., Principle Broker, Hawaii Real Estate Network, Inc. Danny Pacheco, President, Island Heritage Realty Jay DeSilva, Owner/Founder, Jus Karma Richard Koob, Founder/Director, Kalani Oceanside Retreat Village Kim Tan, Owner, Kim Tan Hair Replacement Mike Ang, Owner, MAFotoGrafix Michael Waddell, Owner and Managing Member, Manu Ahi Group Olivia Coletti, David Magenheim & Justin Pardo, Market Fresh Bistro Chuck Spence, Owner, Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort Jeff Hong, Principle Consultant, Microsoft Consulting Services Hawaii John Long, Owner, Nitty Gritty Organic Gardening Freddie Jordan, President, Odyssey Magazine Kim Hunter, Owner/Publisher, One Voice Publications Jeff Helminiak, Market Manager - Hawaii, Orbitz Worldwide Robert Dote, Owner, Over Easy Down Under Jack Law, President, Pacific Bar Associates dba Hula's Bar & Lei Stand Dan McDougal, Owner, Pets Discount / Pets Central Luciana Yadao, Owner/Founder, Pure N Simple Barbara Ankersmith, President, QMark Research Marty Guerriero, Owner, Relax Therapeutic Massage Ross Uehara-Tilton, Owner, RRKUT Enterprises Deb Zelnick, Owner, Rubber Stamp Plantation Mizdebz DeSilva Carveiro, Owner/CEO/Founder, Shhhhhhh International Jesus Puerto, Owner, Soul de Cuba Alfonso Tirado, Owner, The Taco Shack Greg Hamman, Owner, Undersea Expeditions LLC Kevin Kaneshiro, Sales & Promotions Manager, Vacations-Hawaii
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