Quantcast

Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

UNDER THE SUN


 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Gov. Lingle used marriage as red herring in civil-unions veto

By Cynthia Oi

POSTED:



The fundamental flaw in Gov. Linda Lingle's reasoning to veto House Bill 444 was to identify civil unions as marriage. By doing so, she allowed herself an out, a way to deny a smaller measure of the rights that legitimately should extend in fullness to all citizens of Hawaii.

The governor stepped further into error when she embraced the mischaracterization of the bill's passage as an 11th-hour maneuver when, in truth, lawmakers were appropriately responding to the bill's supporters who, to the end, persistently sought a vote that had been quashed earlier in the session.

That civil union opponents were caught off guard does not mean the action, as Lingle said, "was wrong and unfair to the public." In fact, lawmakers broke from their usual timidity and somehow stumbled upon boldness in approving the bill that had had numerous public vettings.

Speculation that the bill's passage was calculated to hurt her, her party or her chosen political heir can be discounted because legislators will be just as much, if not more, at risk come election time. Whatever the case, lawmakers managed to offer constitutional guarantees that are now being withheld.

Would that Lingle had found the fortitude to resolve the issue rather than throwing it into the pseudo-populist contrivance of letting "all of the people of Hawaii" decide. She would only have to look at California's Proposition 8 that restricts marriage to heterosexual couples to see how a ballot issue can be commandeered by groups with discriminatory ideologies.

The governor was right that same-sex marriage is an emotional issue.

She served up "poignant" stories to illustrate the point, one about a man who struggled to reveal his homosexuality to his family, which rang true.

The other -- about a woman who "expressed anguish" that children might someday be subjected to public-school teachings that same-sex marriage was the same as their parents' marriage -- was a red herring. Nothing in the civil unions bill would have required that, yet Lingle inserted flash points that amplify certain fears.

As strongly as people might feel about same-sex marriage, that wasn't the matter before the governor.

A civil union isn't same-sex marriage. It isn't because it stops short of granting the full benefits married people are offered. It isn't necessarily recognized by other states and certainly not by the federal government. But putting both in one category got Lingle out of a tough spot.

Establishing civil rights is not a zero-sum situation. The civil unions bill would not have denied marriages to those who want them. People who marry would have suffered no deprivation as do couples who now aren't allowed to join.

The governor said she is "comfortable" with her decision to leave the matter to others to determine. She made no suggestion as to what should be contained in a ballot measure, saying she'd leave that to legislators, the folks she's had little faith in previously. It is easy to be comfortable when you turn away from an important decision.

Cynthia Oi can be reached at coi@staradvertiser.com.






 Print   Email   Comment | View 0 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

COMMENTS
(0)
You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
IN OTHER NEWS
Latest News/Updates