Not The End For Civil Unions, Rights

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - July 14, 2010
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Yes, I was disappointed that Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed HB444. No, I was not surprised.

I do believe her reasoning is flawed, and agree with state Rep. Roy Takumi: “No matter where anyone was on HB444, the governor’s logic shows a woeful ignorance of history. I wonder if she can name just one civil rights issue (that is, a proposal to protect the rights of a minority) that was put to a popular vote. A cursory reading of history would show it was determined by the courts or by legislative bodies.

“Is there any doubt what the outcome would have been if the right for women to vote was decided by the voters (who, by the way, were all men back in 1920)?

“Is there any doubt what the outcome would have been if the issue of integrating schools was left up to the voters in the Deep South?

“I’m speechless. As a politician, maybe that’s a good thing.”


 

I agree with everything you say, Rep. Takumi, except, respectfully, for that last sentence. Speechless isn’t good (even for a politician). Too many people are silent and afraid to speak up.

I also applaud state Rep. Blake Oshiro, who brought the matter up for vote on the final day of the session. What a risk he took. I hope the voters in his district recognize him for the courageous and principled man he is.

Elsewhere, the struggle continues. Just two days after Lingle’s veto, a U.S. District Court judge in Boston ruled unconstitutional a law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. The 1996 law, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was challenged by the Massachusetts attorney general and by a gay rights group. Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in the two separate cases that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

Here is his conclusion: “There is no reason to believe that the disadvantaged class is different, in relevant respects from a similarly situated class. This court may conclude that it is only irrational prejudice that motivates the challenged classification. As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest, this court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

If these cases make it to the U.S. Supreme Court and if they are upheld, that would give same-sex marriages the same constitutional protections as interracial marriages. The only sure thing is that the issue will continue to inflame, divide and arouse our passions for many years to come.


I leave today with words of hard-earned wisdom from a young lesbian, who e-mailed me: “The underlying lesson I have learned from Jesus during his time here on earth was how he was led by love and compassion for all. This is how I have chosen to live my life with love and compassion for all people, knowing that everyone has had different experiences in life and that we all have come from different cultures and backgrounds.”

This is not the end.

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