By Derrick DePledge
Hawaii United for Marriage is again calling for the state Legislature to approve gay marriage, citing the decision by the federal government not to extend federal worker benefits for couples in domestic partnerships as an example of the disparity between marriage and domestic partnerships and civil unions.
The federal Office of Personnel Management's determination was in response to U.S. Supreme Court rulings in June that legally married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits.
Hawaii allows both same-sex and heterosexual couples to enter into civil unions and receive the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as marriage under state law. Marriage in Hawaii is reserved for heterosexual couples.
“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 Citizens League, said in a statement. “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.”