Evan Wolfson talks about the importance of the freedom to marry in Hawaii
December 10, 2012
Last week, Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson visited Hawaii to meet with local marriage advocates about the importance of winning marriage in the state. The visit was Evan's first time back to Hawaii since he served as co-counsel in the historic marriage trial in the state in 1996.
Since 2011, same-sex couples in Hawaii have been able to join in civil union, which affords some - but not all - of the protections and responsibilities that marriage provides. In 1998, anti-gay forces in the state were able to push through a constitutional amendment that stated that prevents the states courts from ending the exclusion of same-sex couples and only permits the legislature to cure that discrimination, notwithstanding the Equal Protection Clause.
While in Hawaii, Evan spoke to advocates about how the state could go the extra mile in 2013 by asking the legislature to move marriage forward in the state. Evan also spoke with Civil Beat about marriage in Hawaii during his visit last week. He said:
Going into 2013, it's now Hawaii's time, and it's time for the legislature to step up and finish the job that they began a couple of years ago with civil union. It's now time to say, 'We don't have two lines of the clerk's office. We treat the entire ohana equally here - we treat everyone with respect.
He also talked about the importance of sharing the stories of families and same-sex couples who deserve the same dignity and respect that different-sex couples already have in the state. He said:
It's the job of local families and local advocates and local organizations and local leaders to make the case to people in Hawaii about who their gay neighbors are - and why shutting them out of marriage hurts people. We have a lot of work to do. But what we saw in these four battleground states is that when we do make the case, we do move people.