Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, who vetoed her state's civil union bill last week, said in a radio interview that the issue no more involves civil rights than does the question of whether close relatives should be allowed to marry.
The Honolulu Civil Beat reports on the comments made in the Republican's first radio interview since the Wednesday veto. She spoke Thursday morning on a show that airs on KHVH 830 AM.
"For those people who want to make this into a civil rights issue, and of course those in favor of the bill, they see it as a civil rights issue. And I understand them drawing that conclusion. But people on the other side would point out, well, we don't allow other people to marry even -- it's not a civil right for them. First cousins couldn't marry, or a brother and a sister and that sort of thing. So there are restrictions, not to put it in the exact same category. But the bottom line is, it really can't be a civil right if we are restricting it in other cases, and it's been found to be legal in those other cases, that the restrictions [are constitutional]."
A caller from Maryland who identified himself as a gay man reached the program to tell Lingle that first cousins can marry in Hawaii. The governor said she would need to confirm whether that was true.
According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, the Hawaii Department of Health says, "Cousins may marry. However, the blood relationship between the prospective bride and groom cannot be closer than first cousins."