Hawaii's governor on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have permitted same-sex civil unions, ending months of speculation on how she would weigh in on the contentious, emotional debate.
"There has not been a bill I have contemplated more or an issue I have thought more deeply about during my eight years as governor than House Bill 444 and the institution of marriage," Lingle said at a news conference. "I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-sex marriage, and find that House Bill 444 is essentially same sex marriage by another name."
Had Lingle not vetoed it, the measure would have granted gay and lesbian couples the same rights and benefits that the state provides to married couples. It also would have made Hawaii one of six states that essentially grant the rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself. Five other states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage.
So, Hawai'i wants to deny my family rights and responsibilities. Wonder how they'll like me denying my tourist dollars to my favorite state in the Union. Increasingly, I'm moving towards making my major tourist expenditures in places that, you know, respect me as a human being.
Update Americablog reminds us with this picture that Lingle is a stalwart defender of man-woman marriage. That must explain her two divorces.
Update 2 From the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:
Opponents of civil unions celebrated Lingle's veto but recognized that the community appears divided.That is the single most stupid comment any of the anti-gay side has ever uttered. Oh, sure, I can see finding unity with someone who denies my essential humanity and civil rights, who wants my family to be second class, my relationship permanently illegal. "Don't take it personally, we just hate the sin." Spare me your meaningless platitudes, you bible-thumping bigot. The paper goes on,
"We feel the stress in this community, and that's not our objective at all," said Francis Oda, chairman of the Hawaii Family Forum. "What we want to do is create unity in this community."
"It seems like she is taking us back 100 years if we are going to decide civil-rights issues by majority rule," said state Sen. Les Ihara Jr. (D, Kapahulu-Kaimuki-Palolo), who believes lawmakers will try to move the bill again next year.Ya think? Conservatives, the party of the past, proud supporters of Jim Crow.
The Star-Advertiser has an editorial today that takes apart Lingle's cowardly bleat "let the people decide":
Good luck. Elsewhere, the paper has another story that the anti-gay bigots won't be happy till they defeat the legislators who vote for this bill in the first place.
Decisions dealing with the civil rights of a minority population -- and HB 444 in its essence attempts to equalize the civil rights of all couples -- are unsuited to be put to a popular vote. Civil rights decisions of the past, including the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, would not have won passage had they been left up to the electorate. Preventing the tyranny of the majority is precisely the province of representative government.
Yesterday's veto proves that civil unions must remain a central issue in the upcoming gubernatorial debates. Lawmakers need to champion another bill -- and hope Lingle's successor will agree that everyone deserves equal access to protections that the state offers its citizens.