Tuesday July 20, 2010

Hawaii Democratic Primary for Governor Splits Over Same-sex ‘Marriage’

By Peter J. Smith

HONOLULU, Hawaii, July 20, 2010 ( – In Hawaii, new battle lines have been drawn in the Democratic primary for governor now that Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has announced that he would have vetoed the civil unions bill rejected by outgoing Republican governor Linda Lingle. Hannemann’s opponent, former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, says he supports legislation that would have established civil unions for homosexuals with all the rights and benefits accorded to civil marriage.

Hannemann revealed his position in a meeting with the editors and reporters of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, saying that if he were governor and received a civil unions bill like HB 444, he would have no choice but to reject it.

“If that bill continues to be tantamount to marriage – between a man and a man or a woman and a woman – I could not sign it. I would not sign it,” he told the Star-Advertiser.

The Star-Advertiser reports that Hannemann said he was open to giving homosexual couples more rights through an expansion of Hawaii’s reciprocal beneficiaries law, which is predicated on economics, rather than a sexual relationship. The state law allows two adults – of same or opposite sex – at least 18 years old, unmarried, and not registered in another reciprocal beneficiary relationship, to have certain economic advantages and legal rights.

Hannemann also said that the voters of Hawaii should decide the fate of same-sex “marriage” and civil unions at the ballot box with a constitutional amendment.

Hannemann’s support for traditional marriage is likely reinforced by the bipartisan reaction on the island against the passage of HB 444, which Lingle vetoed. Many Christians, who also count themselves as socially conservative working-class Democrats, opposed the bill vigorously, and have made no bones about their intention to take down any candidate for governor that would sign legislation affecting the status of marriage.

Former Rep. Annelle Amaral told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier in July that the impact of Christian votes at the ballot box could be huge.

“I had all the Christians out with signs saying I voted for same-sex marriage and not to vote for me,” Amaral told the journal, explaining that it led to her defeat. She added, “Conservative groups are incredibly strong. The churches are already organized.”

Republican Charles K. Djou, the only pro-family candidate in a three-way race with two Democratic opponents, won Hawaii’s special election in May, and may have benefited from the anger of pro-family Democrats, when the bill was passed.

Hannemann quit his post today as part of Honolulu’s “resign-to-run” law, and will face off with Abercrombie in the September primary.

Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, the Republican candidate for governor, opposes both same-sex “marriage” and civil unions, but will have a tough uphill climb in this heavily Democratic state to capture the governorship.

However, if Abercrombie wins the primary, then the issue of same-sex “marriage” once again will come into play, and could potentially benefit Aiona’s chances at winning the election.

A Rasmussen poll taken in late June before Lingle’s veto featuring either Democratic candidate in a hypothetical match-up with the GOP contender in November, showed Abercrombie leading Aiona 58% to 32%, and Hannemann leading Aiona 52% to 30%.

See previous coverage by

Hawaii Bids Farewell to Same-Sex Unions as Governor Vetoes Bill


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