It’s Official: Hawaii couples in civil unions will be treated differently than legally married same-sex couples

July 11, 2013

This week, the Obama Administration continued to offer clarification and guidance on the impact of recent Supreme Court rulings. The Court’s striking down of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has extended thousands of critical protections to legally married same-sex couples.

But the end of DOMA will not offer increased protections for couples in civil unions.

This week, the Office of Personnel Management announced that civil union partners of federal employees “will remain ineligible for most federal benefits programs.” This announcement affirmed what we expected: Hawaii couples in civil unions will, in fact, be treated differently than legally married same-sex couples.

HICivilUnionWith this announcement, the need for marriage in Hawaii is clearer than ever. As Hawaii couples in civil unions will continue to be denied thousands of federation protections, the time is now for lawmakers to act and extend the freedom to marry to all committed couples.

That’s why we’re renewing our call to Hawaii legislators:

“The OPM rulings make it explicitly clear that only same-sex couples who are legally married can access federal benefits, and not those in civil unions,”   said Jacce Mikulanec, Hawaii United for Marriage representative for the Japanese American Citizen’s League. “This means Hawaii’s same sex couples, including those who entered civil unions, continue to be left out.  The bottom line is that the time is right for Hawaii to pass marriage equality.”

News of the Obama Administration’s announcement regarding civil union couples is spreading far and wide across the islands.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser’s Political Radar blog and the Honolulu Civil Beat both picked up the story.

With lawmakers considering a special session to debate marriage equality, momentum to win the freedom to marry is at an all-time high.

Help us capitalize on this energy: pitch in $20 now, and the ACLU of Hawaii will double your impact — so we can run the strong campaign we need to win.