Hawaii welcomes its third elected openly LGBT official (pictured), while the state legislature passes employment protections for transgender people.
Kauai County council members chose Kipukai Kualii to fill the seat of a politician who left to join the state legislature. Kualii will now serve on the council, which represents the 60,000 people who live on the island of Kauai and small neighboring islands, until at least the end of 2012. Kualii joins Blake Oshiro, a state representative, and Kim Iwamoto, a transgender member of the state board of education, as Hawaii's openly LGBT elected officials. Hawaii, which recently legalized civil unions, also has a lesbian on its state supreme court, an appointed rather than elected position.
The state senate Tuesday approved employment protections for transgender people, moving the legislation to Democratic and gay-friendly governor Neil Abercrombie.
"The march towards full equality in the Aloha State continues," Alan Spector, Equality Hawaii cochair, said in a press release. "Providing employment protections to transgender citizens in Hawaii is a victory for civil rights and equal treatment under the law for all residents of our great state."