Hawaii governor signs trio of pro-LGBTQ+ bills to make state ‘inclusive for all’

The governor of Hawaii signed three pro-LGBTQ+ bills into law in a rare show of political allyship.

Officials and guests gathered at the Castle Memorial Building on 16 June to witness governor David Ige sign the bills, which aim to prevent discrimination and boost representation.

The first of the three – HB2405 – bans “categorical cosmetic or blanket exclusions” to gender-affirming care. It was first introduced to the House on January 26 where it was processed and passed, eventually landing on the governor’s desk on 4 April.

SB2136, introduced on 18 January, prohibits juror exclusion based on gender expression or identity.

Finally, SB2670, introduced on 21 January, seeks to establish a Hawaii state LGBTQ+ commission “on a permanent and continuing basis”.

Ige signed the bills at the Castle Memorial Building. The event was live-streamed and later posted on Facebook, where Ige wrote: “Thank you to everyone who made this happen to ensure Hawaii strives to be an inclusive community for all.”

He emphasised how the legislation “will help us identify and address social and community issues more effectively and ensure that we can work to prevent discrimination in many areas of our society”.

Our consitution requires a jury of peers, and we believe that everyone in our community should be a participant in our system,” Ige continued.

It comes shortly after president Joe Biden took action against conversion therapy and the wave of anti-trans legislation being filed across the US with a sweeping executive order.

“Just be you,” Biden said as he signed the order. “You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. You do belong and I want you to know that, as your president, all of us on stage have your back. We have your back.”

GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis applauded Biden’s move, saying it was a welcome decision “at a time when anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation and rhetoric is at a peak.”