Against long odds, it appears the civil unions fight will go at least one more round. The Honolulu Advertiser reported this week that senators are considering an amendment put forward by gay rights advocates to remove the word “marriage” from House Bill 444 and offer civil unions—with the same rights and responsibilities as marriage—to all consenting adults regardless of how many people of which gender a couple consists of. Unfortunately, Manoa Sen. Brian Taniguchi, the one-time champion of civil unions, told the Advertiser that he is “not particularly optimistic a bill will pass.” Odd that the leadership’s point man on all of this would be so pessimistic. Senate President Colleen Hanabusa told me last week that she defers to her committee chairs, so presumably either Taniguchi’s support for civil unions has suddenly waned or the president just doesn’t have the muscle to line up the votes for HB 444—and without a strong Hanabusa rival in the chamber, it’s hard to see how that would be the case. Another interpretation, from attorney Mary Wilkowski, appears on our letters page this week.
Ann Wright, the retired Army colonel and Foreign Service Officer who has been a leader in the peace movement since 2003, is just back from Gaza, where she investigated the consequences of the recent Israeli invasion and observed the conditions facing Palestinians. Wright will be the featured speaker at Tuesday’s Friends of Sabeel—Hawaii meeting.