Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hawaiian punch

As I predicted she would, Hawaii’s Republican Governor, Linda Lingle, has vetoed that state’s civil union law. I never had any doubt—she’s a Republican governor, after all, and opposition to legal recognition of same-sex relationships is one of that party’s non-negotiable litmus tests.

Lingle began her veto message saying, "I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-gender marriage and find that House Bill 444 is essentially marriage by another name." So apparently she wasn’t the least bit serious when she pretended to listen to supporters of the law, and is lying now when she claimed she tried to do her “very best to reach a reasoned decision”. He veto was clearly based on her personal anti-gay bigotry.

Hawaii is plagued with a virulent religious right. The Roman Catholic Church, the Mormons and fundamentalist Protestants have long been in collusion to fight the civil and human rights of GLBT people in that state. In fact, Hawaii was a training ground for this cabal as they learned skills they’d ultimately use to take away marriage equality in California.

As hypocritical as it is for the divorced Lingle to pontificate on the validity of other people’s relationships, her call for a vote is despicable. "A vote by all the people of Hawaii is the best and fairest way to address (this) issue.”

The far right always pushes this nonsense and tries to convince ordinary people that it’s fair and reasonable. Putting aside the disgusting immorality of ever putting human rights to popular vote, how come it’s “best and fairest” for voters to have a say on same-sex relationships, but we never get to have a say on theirs? What if, say, we got to vote on forbidding divorce, or maybe denying legal recognition to new marriages of divorced people? Surely that’s “the best and fairest” thing to do if we’re going to allow voters to sit in judgement over people’s relationships. Why shouldn’t the validity of all relationships be voted on?

The reason, of course, is that the right hates gay people and they’re singling us out for special persecution. That their position is both logically and morally indefensible doesn’t matter to them, nor does their blatant hypocrisy or bigotry.

Lamda Legal and the ACLU have announced plans to sue Hawaii because its constitution forbids discrimination against gay people; they will argue that because the state constitution also now allows marriage to be restricted to man-lady marriage only (thanks to that religious cabal), the state has to provide an equivalent arrangement not called marriage, something Lingle has prevented. So, she’ll cost Hawaii taxpayers money.

Lingle also has an especially mean streak in her. She invited to her announcement the retired Justice Steven H. Levinson: He issued the 1993 ruling that the Hawaii state constitution’s equal protection provisions meant the state couldn’t forbid same-sex marriage. That, in turn, set off the entire national war over marriage (including the passage of the federal Defence of Marriage Act), and led to the amendment to the state constitution to allow the state to discriminate in marriage.

Lingle tried to paint her bigoted act as bringing “honor to the political process”, as if she had any idea what that word means. There’s now the predictable call to boycott Hawaii, but it seems to me that energy ought to be focused instead on the single goal of electing as Governor of Hawaii a sane, rational, non-bigoted person who will, unlike Lingle, reflect “the values of Hawaii."

Fortunately for Hawaii, Lingle is term-limited out of office this year. The Primary Election to determine who will vie to succeed her will be held September 18.

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