In the next few days, House Bill 444 will be introduced in the Hawaii State House. It is a bill which would create for same-sex couples a legal partnership equivalent to marriage in almost every way conceivable. For those couples living in Hawaii, the passage of this law would be an enormous step forward in leveling the field regarding marriage rights. It is, of course, not marriage, but it is a strong first step toward marriage and full equality in the law AND in society.
House Bill 444 will be introduced with an unprecedented 32 co-signers. Since the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples began here in the early 90’s, never has such a bill had such seeming broad support in the State House. While I remain ever-so-slightly skeptical of the bill’s eventual passage out of the House (a first here), I am extremely optimistic that is exactly what will happen. Call it what you will, fate, destiny, luck, hard work… whatever, House Bill 444 is poised to be the first bill of its kind to come out of either the House or Senate of the Hawaii State Legislature.