The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: phone: 212.851.8418,email:,

Statement from Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, on Hawaii Civil Union Vote

"Step in the Right Direction, Though Short of Marriage"


Statement by Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry
following the Hawaii State Legislature's passage of House Bill 444,
which, when signed by Governor Linda Lingle, will establish civil
unions in Hawaii. Wolfson is author of Why Marriage Matters: America,
Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry and was co-counsel in the
historic Baehr v. Miike Hawaii case that sparked the national marriage

"In the 1990s, Hawaii began the national conversation
about ending gay couples' exclusion from marriage, and was the first to
create a legal status to provide some state-level recognition and
protections for same-sex couples. The legislature's passage of a civil
union bill marks a major step forward in Hawaii's journey toward
fairness and equality, but falls short of the full security and equal
protection that come only with the freedom to marry. In the years since
the groundbreaking Hawaii marriage case, the experience of other states
such as Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Jersey - as well
as several countries -- has been that civil unions are no substitute
for marriage. I urge Governor Lingle to swiftly sign House Bill 444
into law, and to Hawaii continuing its journey and finishing the job by
ending the denial of marriage."

Freedom to Marry applauds the
leadership of Equality Hawaii and others who tenaciously made the case
for fairness and moving forward, and will continue to work with our
partners in Hawaii to secure the freedom to marry for all couples.
Freedom to Marry Resources on "Marriage versus Civil Unions" -

Recent Article by Evan Wolfson Recalling the Groundbreaking Baehr v.
Miike Case in Hawaii, "Fourteen Years After Hawaii: New Freedom to
Marry Case in California; Same Old, Same Old From Opponents" -

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.