Legislation to establish civil union benefits failed narrowly in 2009; in 2010, outgoing Governor Linda Lingle vetoed a successful bill.
The fate of a civil unions bill in the 2011 legislature is uncertain. The Democratic gubernatorial candidates are divided on their support for a new bill. A recent poll, commissioned by Honolulu Civil Beat, shows roughly equal support and opposition for a bill, and a 16% undecided margin.
The measures follow Conservative efforts in the 1990s to affirmatively prohibit gay marriage.