In the latest development in the Hawaii Business Roundtable‘s public stance opposing House Bill 444, the Hawaii civil unions measure, First Hawaiian Bank says it does not share that view.

In a June 18 letter to Jo-Ann Adams, who represents the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, bank vice president Brandt Farias said First Hawaiian “has not taken a position on same-sex marriage, civil unions, or HB 444.”

“First Hawaiian Bank has been serving all the people of Hawaii for over 150 years and has a long history of opposing any form of discrimination,” wrote Farias.

The bank, represented by its president and CEO, Don Horner, is one of 10 members of the roundtable’s executive committee, which wrote a June 4 letter to Gov. Linda Lingle urging her to veto HB 444 because of concerns about implementing the bill should it become law.

Horner told Civil Beat earlier this month that “a majority of the executive committee basically approved the letter.”

Asked Wednesday whether Horner agreed with Farias’ June 18 letter, Farias said, “Yes, Don is in agremeent with that.”

The bank is the fourth executive committee member to distance itself from its own actions.

According to five civil-rights groups supporting HB 444, a total of 24 of the roundtable’s 46 members now have publicly taken a stand opposing discrimination, with some members saying they do not support vetoing HB 444. Many say they were not consulted by the executive committee on the veto request.

The groups — the Democrat’s GLBT caucus, Equality Hawaii, Human Rights Campaign, Pride Alliance Hawaii and PFLAG-Oahu — are part of a coalition that has called and written to the roundtable members asking about the veto recommendation and HB 444.

The roundtable represents many of the leading businesses in Hawaii, including financial institutions, hospitals, insurers, hotels, utilities and developers.

Share your thoughts on what the roundtable has done and the new positions taken by a few members of its executive committee.

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