07/06/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Governor Lingle hoped that everyone who supported and opposed Hawaii HB 444 would realize that she understood their position and had listened to them, but she has vetoed it based upon her opposition to same-sex marriage even though she states that she is not doing so because she opposes it, but because she believes that it is alright for the majority to ride roughshod over the rights of others through a vote before the whole people.
If she so believed that having civil unions will affect the lives of the people of Hawaii, she needs to look at Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire where all of the fears that she has bought into with regards the supposed damage that this will do to “traditional” marriages that she seeks to protect via this veto.
Governor Lingle’s decision to push this back again and again shows that she has no stomach for taking the hard decisions, nor does she understand that the rights of a given people are not subject to the majority vote given that so many people in this country would still be living under the thumb of segregation had the Civil Rights Acts of the 1950′s through the 1970′s been put up for majority vote.
If Governor Lingle had her druthers, Hawaii would be subject to the very lawsuits and legal actions which she claims to fear in handing down her veto. She has made it clear that her successor will have to deal with this mess again because her own prejudices came into play as well as her calculation that she had more to gain by vetoing this law than by allowing it to go into effect without her signature. Her hopes of higher office are likely dashed now as she will be torn to shreds by people on both sides.
The notion that civil unions are, somehow, like marriage is absurd, and yet that is her rationale. She opposes same-sex marriages because of her own beliefs and her own religion. She has, in this veto, acted against the Constitutional guarantee that the State- both Federal and states- will not impose religious beliefs upon their citizens. This violates the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment.
What Governor Lingle has done is ensure that her state will be spending a lot of money on legal cases which will try to enforce the decision already handed down in 1993 that marriage equality or civil unions must be allowed unless there is compelling reason, and somehow I doubt that the courts will find that the need to ensure that the majority of Hawaii’s bigots have the right to impose their religious and social beliefs upon a minority will be sufficient grounds.
Editorial Note and Addendum:
Recently I wrote that the only way for Governor Lingle to come out of this with her political career intact or mostly intact was to do nothing. Her decision to veto this bill is pure politics as it appears that Hawaii does not have the ability to write in ballot initiatives the way that California does. This makes her entire rationale untenable and this was entirely based upon a political calculation for what she plans in the future.- BPL.