In a letter to civil rights group Equality Hawaii, BOH President and CEO Allan Landon wrote, “While we acknowledge and agree with the Hawaii Business Roundtable letter that there could be administrative challenges resulting from HB 444 becoming law, we believe those challenges are manageable. If necessary, any such issues could be addressed in future legislative sessions. Accordingly, we do not think the legislation should be vetoed because of administrative issues. This morning I sent a message to Governor Lingle expressing these views.”
Landon added, “As a general rule, Bank of Hawaii does not take policy positions on issues not directly affecting the banking industry, although our employees are encouraged to express their individual views on issues. As an organization, Bank of Hawaii supports workforce diversity and fair treatment of all individuals. We have offered domestic partner benefits since 1998.”
Landon is one of 10 local executives to sit on the roundtable’s 10-member executive committee. The 46-member roundtable is made up of the presidents and CEOs of Hawaii’s leading businesses.
BOH’s decision follows last week’s similar statement by another executive committee member, Constance Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries. Time Warner Cable, the parent company of a third executive committee member, Oceanic Cablevision, distanced itself from the roundtable’s stance earlier this month.
In a June 4 letter to Lingle, Gary Kai, the roundtable’s executive director, asked the governor to veto HB 444 and establish a commission to study the legislation and come back to the 2011 session with recommendations. Kai said roundtable members were concerned about the legal implications should the bill become law.
Kai later revised the executive committee’s position in a second letter to the governor after it surfaced that many roundtable members were not consulted in the matter. The executive committee still wants a veto of HB 444 but says it does not oppose civil unions.
Over the weekend, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Hawaiian Airlines, another member of the roundtable, also backed away from the exective committee’s position. Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, wrote to Lingle June 24 saying the airline was not consulted and “we do not endorse” the veto request, according to a copy of his letter obtained by Civil Beat.
Also, another roundtable member, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, on Monday disclosed that it was “completely uninvolved” with the June 4 letter and “does not agree with this letter.”
“Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties strongly supports equal rights, and we provide benefits to our employees and agents who enter into a domestic partnership by extending benefits to those partners that meet the eligibility requirements,” the company said in a statement.
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