Hawaii lawmakers on Friday decided not to vote on a bill that would create same-sex civil unions in the state. Opponents of the measure praised the action, expressing gratitude to the lawmakers but calling for continued vigilance.
While the state Senate approved a civil unions bill last week, the state House leadership indefinitely postponed the bill, numbered H.B. 444. According to the Associated Press, the House leadership was wary of pushing a controversial issue during an election year.
Opponents of the measure cheered in the House gallery, while supporters shouted “Shame on you!”
Last year 33 of 51 house members voted in favor of civil unions.
Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, has refused to say whether she would veto a civil unions bill.
In a Friday statement the Hawaii Catholic Conference and Hawaii Family Forum said that the House’s decision does not mean that the bill is dead.
“The first thing we should do is continue to pray and thank God for His grace and mercy. We appreciate all your prayers on behalf of Hawaii Family Forum and Hawaii Catholic Conference,” the statement said. “Remember that we are witnesses to Christ in all that we do and say and we must always show compassion to those who do not agree with us.”
The groups called for Hawaiians to express their thanks to the Representatives whose “courageous action” put the will of the people first. They also advised vigilance in the future.