Op-Ed: Hawaii Gov. Lingle’s veto of civil unions

Posted by Jonathan Capehart on washingtonpost.com:

... "I’m all for the courts stepping in to right an injustice, especially when it is reinforced by the people either at the ballot box or through their elected representatives. But what was happening in Hawaii was the optimal way for granting same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as married heterosexuals. The duly elected legislature overwhelmingly passed a civil unions law. The state Senate approved it 18 to 7 back in January. The Hawaii House of Representatives followed suit in April by a vote of 31 to 20. All that was needed was the governor’s signature.

Gov. Linda Lingle (R) put on a good show in weighing her decision whether or not to veto. She had meetings and phone calls with those in favor of and against the freedom to marry. After all, even though HB 444 was a civil union bill, the battle was over marriage equality. Lingle vetoed the legislation on Tuesday. 'I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same gender marriage and find that HB 444 is essentially marriage by another name,' she said.

"And then Lingle did the unthinkable. She advocated putting the rights of a minority up for a popular vote.

..."Putting the rights of the minority up for a popular vote is an abdication of leadership. Making '[d]ecisions of this magnitude' is what the people who troop to voting booths elect their representatives to do. And we’ve seen what happens when marriage equality is on the ballot. Californians have a reputation for being a liberal live-and-let-live crew. But in 2008, they approved a state constitutional amendment that defined and recognized marriage as between one man and one woman in the Golden State.

... "The Hawaiian legislature must override Lingle’s veto. To do otherwise is to break faith with same-sex couples in the Aloha State -- and to be on the wrong side of history with Lingle."

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