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Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle Vetoes Civil Unions

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.

Addendum 2:

The ACLU of Hawaii and Lambda Legal To Sue

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23 Responses to Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle Vetoes Civil Unions

  1. Melanie Nathan

    July 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    First off she is a disgrace to the Jewish community and I can say that, safely as a Jew; I practice my religion and I am a Lesbian AND my Rabbi married me. Reminder Israel has many more same-sex equality laws than most countries, some of which are excluded in the USA. So take Jewish out of all the comments.

    NOW – This to me means we have no CHOICE but to declare WAR and I mean it. Again and again I preach that we need to amend the Civil Rights Act here in the USA for gay rights and for me it is WAR until my orientation by virtue of its targeted discrimination, is included. There will be more articles on this tom come here on Lez Get Real – Because this writer has declared WAR!

  2. margokatt

    July 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Bridgette, go back and read your article: ACLU, Lambda Legal Are Ready With Lawsuit Challenging Lingle’s Veto…you will see that the legal opposition and valid cause of actions lie in discrimination based on sexual orientation. Unfortunately, sexual orientation is not a protected class and thus the challenger of the gov’t action has the burden of proof to show that the action could not pass the rational basis test or have a legitimate government purpose. Here, there could be some lame excuse. Even so, I am glad that the ACLU is attempting to dislodge Lingle’s personal bias.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm


      Please check the time stamp on each article. You will find that this one was written an hour before the ACLU one. I do not know all the case law, but I believe that the laws in Hawaii already have sexuality established as a protected clause.

  3. margokatt

    July 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    While her decision was unnecessary and very tragic in the battle for equal rights for LGBT people I think that you should write a more accurate article. The establishment clause of the first amendment provides freedom of religion such that the government will not draft/pass bills targeting a religion or single out a religious practice. Furthermore, it prevents laws that would otherwise require a court to delve into the religious beliefs of a group from being passed or withstanding legal opposition. Her veto is NOT a violation of the First Amendment. It is just plain WRONG!

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm


      Unfortunately, it is a violation of the spirit of the Establishment clause.

  4. Unite the Fight

    July 6, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Wow – isn’t this a classic? She’s been married and divorced twice! Let’s have the residents of Hawaii vote on the right to divorce! It is about protecting marriage after all, isn’t it?

    Lingle, hypocrisy is thy name.

  5. Steve Leong

    July 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    The battle has not ended. Sadly it will go on till freedom and equality prevails. Sadly it will drain Hawaii of more tax money. Sadly, GLBT children will continue to be born to people who condemn equality. People will continue to sow their ignorance, and condescending efforts to blast people who are born differently from themselves … let them! Don’t respond. What they sow, so shall they reap. God created GLBT people for God’s reason, and will stand by them. Stand up and continue to move forward, paving the way for these people’s Gay children to have free, happy lives! Don’t give up, the challenge of the battle for equal rights has only just begun!

    Steve Leong

  6. Katelin

    July 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Epic fail, Lingle. You’ll get what is coming to you one day you disgusting bigot. 

  7. Peanutgallery

    July 6, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    This issue has been decided many times before today. The Public opposes gay marriage,i.e. (civil union). Unfortunately the gay community refuses to accept the majority decision. It serves only to re-enforce what most educated people already know. Gay people have not been denied any rights. They are free to marry anyone they choose, of the opposite sex. Get over it, and move on already.

    • Liz

      July 6, 2010 at 10:50 pm

      I don’t think that’s true, Peanutgallery. Aside from a handful of states in “the heartland”, every poll I have seen has a majority of people supporting civil unions. And to equate civil unions with marriage is a non-starter and patently false to anyone who does even a bit of research on the subject.

    • Unite the Fight

      July 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm

      Another falsehood is that we have the freedom to choose to marry someone of the opposite sex. Is it truly a marriage to marry someone you don’t love or are not attracted to, a marriage that will eventually lead to a divorce? Before “no fault” divorces, people were help responsible to their marriages and could be prosecuted for entering a marriage contract based on lies.

      Straight people get to choose the one person they love to marry – the inequality lies in the fact that gay people don’t get that same right to choose. And by definition of “gay”, they would choose someone of the same sex.

      And has already been stated here, civil unions ARE NOT marriages and create a caste system and a set up for discrimination (studies have shown this, particularly in New Jersey). But it’s a start. I have heard countless times by people who oppose same-sex marriage, “Why can’t you just accept civil unions?” Because of people like Gov. Lingle, or those who opposed the domestic partnerships in Washington State (and failed to repeal them) – no matter what rights we obtain or get close to, we’ll be denied them. Marriage is what we should only accept from now on.

  8. LOrion

    July 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    So is she a closet case as Joe says or not?

  9. BVrian Clayton

    July 6, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Lingle…you’d better watch out… you screwed up royally

  10. SteveMD2

    July 6, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Let this be a lesson to all our gay friends out there. The apathy of the gay community must come to an end. It may take years, thats what it took for me, to begin to understand the political process, and get serioously involved in it, eg Phone banking, parades, bugging legislators, testifying at committee hearings etc.

    And try it this way please. there are most likely 6 to 10% of the population that is gay, including a significant number of sham / lie heterosexual marriages – I’ve run into about 12 gay people who tried str8 and finally decided to not live a lie.

    But if every gay person skipped one drink at a bar per month, and contributed it to their favorite local or national gay equality group, thats well over a Billion $$$ to influence elections, sue the religious right in a hundred different ways, and change America.

    That’s my bitch. Yes, I understand in some ways what the closet does to people. But I also think that until the community comes out of the closet re politics, America is going to have a hard time changing, and overcoming our own Taliban.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm


      We are starting to wake up. Many of us are tired of letting the big Gay Inc. groups like the Human Rights Campaign or the astroturfers like Get Equal mangle the show. It’s why LGR exists. I do not get paid yet, and even when we finally make enough to get paid, it will never be the salaries that those guys get.

      We do this because we have to. These are our rights.

  11. Hussein McCain

    July 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Well done! I hope every Hawaii governor vetoes these sneaky attempts to legalize same-sex unions

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 6, 2010 at 9:59 pm

      You mean by acting upon the matter in the legal and legislative manner that is normally how laws are done and to uphold their own Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America by not enforcing religious beliefs upon someone else?

  12. SteveMD2

    July 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Evil rules. The Jewish governor ( I am jewish as is my wife) sides with the religious “right”, which gave us Slavery, the KKK, and segregion.

    And the Catholic church, whose hatred of Jews over a millenia culminated in a Catholic, Hitler, leveraging that hatred to gain election and 50 MIllion died in history’s worst calamaty.

    And the catholic church has yet to EXcommunicate Hitler. But the Pope in 2009 UNexcommunicated a Bishop williamson, who is a holocaust denier.

    This is all republicanism. The people whose base is the southern Evangelical anything but Christians, and the republicans who gave us the deregulation that let wall street and the banks run wild. And resulted in the almost 2nd great republican world wide depression.

    America will be the laughing stock of eg Europe, Where the only countries that do not grant gay couples marriage rights one way or another, are Italy and Greece,,home of the two catholic churches
    Including the VAtican, also known as Molesters R US.

    • Liz

      July 6, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      There are several things wrong with your statement.

      1) Greece is not Catholic… it’s Orthodox. I know because I was born there. ;)
      2) For whatever reason, Catholics are only second to Jews in America in support of same-sex marriage. I think that a big reason for this is that many Catholics, like Jews, call themselves “Catholic” but don’t actually practice the religion (which is fine by me!).
      3) You can’t excommunicate a dead person. Because, you know… they’re dead? At least so says wikipedia.
      4) I think the bigger problem is that you’re missing the point entirely here. Religion is often a huge problem with the right wing, but the bigger problem is simply how they were raised. The zealous anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-individual-rights, and pro-war viewpoints that so many right-wingers hold is a product of their upbringing. This is an ingrained stream of thought that we see throughout all religious groups, all racial groups, and both genders. We must always work to get rid of that sort of thinking wherever it is found, rather than just blaming it on a certain religion/race/whatever.

  13. keloka

    July 6, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    the last we know, Linda Lingle is gay with her girlfriend at the governor’s mansion….so what’s up with that!!! wow, hypocritical and shallow…and yes, Hawaii is dumb enough to elect her….

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      As I do not live in Hawai’i but in Vermont, I cannot comment upon your Governor’s sexuality. However, if what you have stated is true, that only reinforces my editorial opinion.

    • Mary

      July 28, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      I’m sure you’re right but how did you confirm it’s her girlfriend? I’m tired of closeted gay politicians making decisions that effect my life, by hiding their own lives.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      I wish that we had. Unfortunately, so far, we have not been able to confirm it. There’s a lot of stuff that is sort of firm, but nothing strong enough to go to press with.