ACLU responds to Hawaii signing bill legalizing civil unions February 23, 2011 Media release | American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii HONOLULU – Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill today that legalizes civil unions for same-sex couples. The bill stops short of granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry, but grants committed same and different-sex couples the rights, responsibilities, benefits and protections that Hawaii law provides to married couples “This bill has been a long time coming for committed couples in Hawaii who have been denied the basic right to take care of their families,” said Laurie Temple, staff attorney for the ACLU of Hawaii. “While we continue to work to achieve the freedom to marry for all couples, we commend the Legislature and Governor Abercrombie for taking a stand against baseless discrimination by passing this bill.” “With today’s historic action in Hawaii, we are closer to achieving the goal of fairness and dignity for all families,” said James Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Across the nation, we are seeing steps toward providing committed couples with the security of knowing they can take care of each other, and that their relationships are recognized in the eyes of the law.” The mission of the ACLU of Hawaii is to protect the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the U.S. and State Constitutions. The ACLU of Hawaii fulfills this through legislative, litigation, and public education programs statewide. The ACLU of Hawaii is a non-partisan and private nonprofit organization that provides its services at no cost to the public and does not accept government funds. The ACLU of Hawaii has been serving Hawaii since 1965. The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. For more information, go to www.aclu.org.