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Big Biz Pushes Lingle on Civil Unions

Big Biz Pushes Lingle on Civil Unions


Hawaii governor Linda Lingle is expected to include the state's civil unions bill -- passed by the legislature in April -- on a potential veto list today. The list doesn't mean she's decided to veto the bill, just that she's considering doing so.

Lingle has until July 6 for her final decision. If she does not act, civil unions will then become law.

With the deadline just two weeks away, a number of big corporations are urging the governor to sign the bill, which would open civil unions to both same- and opposite-sex couples. Those businesses include the Hawaii Medical Service Association (the state's largest health insurer), Time Warner Cable, Marriott International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, March & McLennan Companies, and Aon Corp.

Their show of support, organized by the Human Rights Campaign, comes after The Hawaii Business Roundtable, made up of executiveswho hope to promote economic vitality and "social health," urged Lingle to veto the bill.

"Time Warner Cable specifically prohibits all forms of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered employees and offers full equality to all our employees," Time Warner's statement read. "While we are active members of the Business Roundtable [through local Oceanic Cable] and believe it to be a beneficial organization for the people of Hawaii, we do not agree with every decision that the Roundtable makes. This letter to Governor Lingle urging her not to support House Bill 444 is one such instance."

Time Warner Cable, Marriott International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Aon Corp. all have a 100 percent rating from HRC's Corporate Equality Index.

"America's most successful business have been leaders in treating same-sex headed families with fairness and respect, so it's no surprise that they're speaking out loudly for civil unions in Hawaii," said HRC president Joe Solmonese.

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