April 7, 2009

311 pages of inequality – courtesy of Senator Espero

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 8:25 pm

After soliciting a copy from Senator Espero, and after three evenings of effort, I offer the following crude digest of his 311-page draft to revive the Civil Union bill. However, after all this work, today comes news that there is at least one other alternative draft being circulated (by which Senator[s], if any, I don’t know) which is much more brief. And the red shirted opponents are already strategizing on how to respond. [I thought Dennis Arakaki was a rather progressive guy when he was in the House. Apparently not. What happened?!]

Espero’s bill seems to go from start to finish through the HRS, searching out instances where marriage is found, and making amendments to include civil unions in (some of) those laws. Because it takes this piecemeal approach instead of the more broad “civil unions have the rights of marriage” approach found in the previous incarnations, numerous rights are excluded simply because they are only found in case law, or in session law, or in administrative rules, etc. It’s a messy way to go about it, and Espero has, if follows, made a mess of it.

I have another document that catalogs all of the places where the term “marriage” is in the HRS, but I have yet to cross-reference it to Espero’s draft. I figured I would at least publish this digest before the whole issue dies, and continue working on comparing the draft to the other document.

After completing the digest I notice that Espero’s draft, while incrementaly better than the status quo, does not come close to replicating what comes to mind when one thinks of all the rights and privileges of marriage. If I tried to describe “marriage” to you only by means of the topics included in this bill, you’d be forgiven for not being eager to enter into it. Unless “marriage” currently meant even fewer rights and privileges than are in the draft… cf. reciprocal beneficiary status.

This is a long post, so click the link to see the gory details. Probably more than a few typos. Forgive me, but I have had enough for today, I’ll correct them if/as they turn up.


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