The Freedom to Marry an Issue in Hawaii Gov. Race

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"Republican James 'Duke' Aiona said if he wins the gubernatorial election, he will propose a constitutional amendment in 2012 to ask voters whether marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman.

"Neil Abercrombie, the Democratic candidate, said if he becomes governor, he will sign a civil unions bill into law if passed again by the state Legislature...

"The divide over civil unions is among the widest between the two major candidates for governor, and their views provide some insight about how they would handle emotion-laden social policy questions if elected.

"Aiona equates civil unions with marriage for same-sex couples. He does not consider marriage a civil right, so he is comfortable putting the question on the ballot.

"He [Aiona] says the state could expand a reciprocal beneficiaries law to address any inequality for same-sex couples.

"Abercrombie sees civil unions as separate from marriage equality.

"'It's a civil rights bill [a civil unions bill passed by the Legislature this year but vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle] that affected everybody equally regardless of their gender, regardless of their sexual orientation. It was a bill about civil rights and responsibilities under the Constitution, and did not constitute -- in my judgment -- anything approaching a revision or recalculation or redefinition of marriage,' he said of the bill, which would have applied to both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

... "...He [Abercrombie] said his views are that people should be entitled 'to make any arrangement they want with their lives.'

"Lawmakers would likely move a civil unions bill with a majority if Abercrombie is governor, since he says he would sign it into law, but would likely want a two-thirds' vote necessary to override a veto under Aiona. The House fell short of a veto-proof vote this year.

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