By Rep. Tom Brower, D-Waikiki- I wonder, on some political or personal level, might Lt. Governor Duke Aiona be open to allowing the civil union bill to become law?

During Governor Linda Lingle’s two- week absence, House Bill 444 is in the hands of our state’s leading opponent.

Despite public rhetoric against the bill, Aiona has yet to take the ultimate step to stop it: Veto power.

Article 5, section 04 of the Hawaii State Constitution states that “in the event of the absence of the governor from the State… such powers and duties shall devolve upon the lieutenant governor during such absence or disability.”

Aiona has exercised his veto power on one measure during Lingle’s absence (Senate Bill 2401).

If he does not take advantage of this power and (hypothetically-speaking) the bill becomes law, he cannot say he did “everything” he could to kill the bill. Whether he makes a choice or not, he still has made a decision. He would be just as responsible as the Governor and the other legislators for the bill’s passage.

Making the tough decisions and accepting the consequences of his actions—this is his chance to show he is more than a seat warmer.

As one of the 31 House members who supported civil unions, I encourage Aiona’s support. It would send the message to Hawaii that its top government officials understand the difference between civil unions and traditional marriage, and that we have enough safeguards in our State Constitution to protect the sanctity of marriage.

Tom Brower, D-Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako, authored this report

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