Gov. Lingle’s rationale for vetoing civil unions for gays validates the point that there’s no such thing as ‘separate but equal’

by CynthiaYockey on July 7, 2010

Hawaii’s Republican Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed Hawaii’s civil union law on July 6 with a rationale that marks the tipping point toward acknowledging that same-sex couples are entitled to use the word “marriage”:

“There has not been a bill I have contemplated more or an issue I have thought more deeply about during my eight years as governor than House Bill 444 and the institution of marriage,” Lingle said at a news conference. “I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same-sex marriage, and find that House Bill 444 is essentially same-sex marriage by another name.”

The bill would have granted gay and lesbian couples the same rights and benefits the state provides to married couples.

She said voters, not politicians, should decide the fate of civil unions.

“It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials,” she said.

Since civil unions are only equal if they confer exactly the same rights and responsibilities of heterosexual marriage, there’s really no reason to use another term. So I’m glad we cleared that up.

As for whether “to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials,” isn’t that the purpose of a democratic republic?

This is why lesbians and gays truly MUST seek equality through the courts. We are a minority and we are not going to win or maintain victories when our equality rests on a majority vote. A coalition of religions — Mormon, Catholic and evangelical Protestant — profit from controlling the reproductive lives of their members and whenever they cannot get their religious beliefs enacted into law, they seek to thwart laws that would provide the equality that it benefits them to withhold. The thing is, while they are entitled to use persuasion to do this to their own members, they are not entitled to appropriate the powers of force over an entire population that civil government possesses. It really is time to start questioning social conservatives on their loyalty to the U.S. Constitution — the factions on the Right that seek to establish their church as the law of the land are doing as much damage to America as the Leftists who are working to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism in its place. Worse than that, these social conservatives very often are fiscal liberals whose economic policies are just as destructive to capitalism as the Left’s.

P.S.

It recently occurred to me that Americans have the liberty to change their religions any time they want and they are protected from being forced to adopt the religion of the majority, or any religion they do not freely choose. Yet the current arguments supporting equality for lesbians and gays compare sexual orientation to traits people cannot change — for example, skin color. I know I cannot change my sexual orientation, but equality-wise and liberty-wise, it seems just as appropriate to compare sexual orientation to religion — a trait that you choose — to justify it as deserving of equality and protection from discrimination.

Update, 7/9/2010, Fri.: Thank you, Hot Air Headlines, for the link! Commenters, you do not have to agree with me to get your comment approved for publication, but you do have to be courteous. This is a respectable blog. Also, since your e-mail address will not be published publicly and since I will keep it confidential, please be aware that comments from fake e-mail addresses are less likely to be published.

I just left the following comment in the comment section regarding this post at Hot Air:

The Constitutional separation of church and state protects religions in the U.S. from any laws intended to force them to violate or change their beliefs or practices. So all religions in the U.S. that do not want to perform gay marriages will never have to do so as long as our Constitution is upheld.

Also, there is no need for lesbians and gays to force any religion to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. We already have at least one religion that will. As I note in a reply to a comment at my post, which is the subject of this discussion, I mark the beginning of the movement for lesbian and gay equality as being Oct. 6, 1968, the date of the founding of the Metropolitan Community Church by the openly gay Rev. Troy Perry. If we need more religions that recognize our equality, we will found them. Gays and lesbians are very self-reliant that way.

The coalition of churches — Mormon, Catholic and Evangelical Protestant — that are the most active in fighting equality for lesbians and gays are not being honest when they use scare tactics to frighten people into believing our equality threatens religious liberty. What they really are seeking to protect is the flood of government money flowing into their coffers and funding their daily operating expenses thanks to the various enterprises they have founded and operate for this purpose — adoption services, hospitals, charities and so on. Equality for lesbians and gays will indeed mean that they cannot take government money AND maintain discriminatory practices, such as refusing services to lesbians and gays, or refusing to hire lesbians and gays. However, as long as they operate on their own property and on their own dime, they can refuse services and employment to lesbians and gays to their hearts’ content.

Oh — and regarding the definition of marriage — it really already varies considerably by religion. Protestant, Catholic and Mormon definitions of marriage are all quite different. For example, <a href=”http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/mormon/marriage/”>Mormons believe that the only true marriage is celestial marriage, which can only be created in a Mormon temple between Mormons</a>. Access to the temple, called a “temple recommend,” requires pleasing church superiors with regard to a detailed list of behaviors, including donations. Anyone married outside of a Mormon temple, including Mormons, is participating in a spiritually inferior union.

The more I read about the objections to equality for lesbians and gays, including same-sex marriage equality, the more I see Mormon ideology being used to frame the discussion, especially when it comes to talking about the definition of marriage being reserved to religions so a separate term, “civil unions,” must be used for the inferior ceremony for the inferior people who have different religious beliefs. It is a stealthy way of getting people to concede a fundamental tenet of Mormonism, which is that only a Mormon temple marriage really is sacred. So — who is really re-defining marriage?

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  • Liz

    “The thing is, while they are entitled to use persuasion to do this to their own members, they are not entitled to appropriate the powers of force over an entire population that civil government possesses.”

    They are, however, entitled to lobby the government to make the laws they want, and to elect the politicians that reflect their values – however repugnant those values may be (and frequently are.)

    I’ve found that, of the ardent soc cons in my family and home town, they are actually easier to persuade on gay marriage than you might think, even if it’s simply on somewhat libertarian grounds, or the idea that people have no incentive to live “morally” if they’re denied marriage. Equality will ultimately come from the courts, but it’s important to win the argument too. IMO, one of the reasons abortion rights are so precarious (not just in the US) is because pro choicers have left too much of the debate in the courtroom.

    • Liz,
      Really, ….”people have no incentive to live morally if they are denied marriage ” ? That resonates with anyone ? Why ? Your statement doesn’t even pass the laugh test ! Besides, no one is denied marriage !
      chuck

      PS The incentive is to do the right thing .

      • CynthiaYockey

        chuckfrmvallyforg,

        I will not be approving any more comments from you unless you make them courteously. This is your only warning.

        Cynthia

  • Attmay

    “The will of the people” is code for majoritarian tyranny. When “the will of the people” supports the oppression of a minority, it is just and necessary to subvert that will by any means necessary. Blind, knee-jerk majoritarianism is anti-American and therefore treasonous, plain and simple.

    This country is not a democracy, it is a republic. The people elect officials to make laws. If the people made laws, can you imagine what this country would be like? Lingle’s anti-American views make her unfit for any public office. If she had any human decency, she would resign.

    By the way, she’s probably violating the state law that bans anti-gay discrimination.

    • Attmay,
      There is something worse than a tyranny of the majority , and that is a tyrrany of the minority . Homosexuals only make up 3% of the population and you demand we reorder society to accomodate you ! Sweet ! Why are you and your co-travelers waging war on marriage , the family and society ? The veneer of civilization is exceedingly thin , but you don’t seem to care .
      The Supreme Court is not the ultimate authority for constitutional interpretation. It is subservient to the People , who can ammend the Constitution through a kind of national referendum . Also, in certain cases juries may decide for themselves how to interpret the Constitution rather than follow judges opinions . Jury nullification still lives .

      • CynthiaYockey

        chuckfrmvallyforg,

        Lesbians and gays comprise six to 10 percent of the population. We are seeking equality under the law so that we can create lives together and raise families together. These are noble purposes and will make our society more stable and moral, not less.

        Here is the explanation of how the U.S. Constitution is amended, according to Wikipedia:

        The framers of the Constitution were aware that changes would be necessary if the Constitution was to endure as the nation grew. However, they were also conscious that such change should not be easy, lest it permit ill-conceived and hastily passed amendments. On the other hand, they also wanted to ensure that a rigid requirement of unanimity would not block action desired by the vast majority of the population. Their solution was a two-step process for proposing and ratifying new amendments.[17]

        Amending the Constitution is a two-part process: amendments must be proposed then ratified. Amendments can be proposed one of two ways. To date, all amendments, whether ratified or not, have been proposed by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress. Over 10,000 constitutional amendments have been introduced in Congress since 1789; during the last several decades, between 100 and 200 have been offered in a typical congressional year. Most of these ideas never leave Congressional committee, and far fewer get proposed by the Congress for ratification.

        Alternatively, if two-thirds of the state legislatures demand one, Congress must call for a constitutional convention, which would have the power to propose amendments. As no such convention has been called, it is unclear how one would work in practice. In two instances—reapportionment in the 1960s and a balanced federal budget during the 1970s and 1980s—attempts to use this process have come extremely close to triggering a constitutional convention. The apportionment debate of the 1960s fell only one state short of the required number of states

        Regardless of how the amendment is proposed, it must also be ratified by three-fourths of states. Congress determines whether the state legislatures or special state conventions ratify the amendment. The 21st Amendment is the only one that employed state conventions for ratification.

  • Stinky

    FWIW, Lingle is a RINO, at least by mainland standards. In Hawaii, a “republican” politician is someone who is somewhat fiscally conservative but liberal on everything else. The entire state is a democratic machine, and the legislature has more than enough votes to override her veto. Let’s see if they do it.

    • SFGoth

      I come quite late to this, but a person who is fiscally conservative but socially liberal is a RINO in the sense that non-RINO Republicans are fiscally liberal but socially conservative. I’ll take a Fiscon Solib over a Fislib Socon any and every day.

  • John F

    Neither side will ever compromise on this issue, which is a shame.

    As a libertarian (and a religious individual) I don’t think that government should be in the marriage business. Government should be in the recognizing a contract bussiness. Instead of issuing marriage licenses, government should issue a certificate of incorporation that basically comes with all the rights and responsibilities of what we now call marriage for anyone who wants one, gay or straight. An “incorporated” couple regardless of sexual preference should have the same rights and responsibilites. Rather than divorce, should a couple decide to split up, a court voids that contract.
    Marriage is a religious ceremony (a sacrement for we Catholics) that should have nothing to do with the government. If the government stays out of religion and church stays out of government, both sides win. Commited gay couples have the same rights (which they deserve) as commited straight couples and their union is recognized by the government. No one is “married” unless they partake in the religious ceremony of their religion.

    • CynthiaYockey

      John F,

      I appreciate your comment, especially your final observation, “No one is ‘married’ unless they partake in the religious ceremony of their religion.”

      While most people mark the beginning of the movement for gay and lesbian equality as being the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village in New York City in June 1969, I think it really began on Oct. 6, 1968, with the founding of the Metropolitan Community Church by the openly gay Baptist minister, Rev. Troy Perry. Since then, the Metropolitan Community Church has flourished as a Christian religion that preaches the equality of lesbians and gays. It also performs marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. So we’ve been able to get married for decades. However, we are not equal until we have each and every right and privilege under federal, state and local laws that heterosexual couples do — the number of federal rights alone is at least 1138, according to a study of the Defense of Marriage Act in a report to Congress by the General Accounability Office.

      Also, anyone can found a religion any time he or she wants. Lesbians and gays, by necessity, since we so often are thrown out of our families and cannot turn to the government and any church but the MCC, are extremely self-reliant and resourceful. So, we do not have to force any religion to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies — to say nothing of the fact that the Constitution protects religions from such interference thanks to the separation of church and state. Instead, if we need more religions that will perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, we will found them.

      Cynthia

  • Bill

    The problem isn’t that gay couples aren’t afforded the same rights as married couples.

    The problem is why do married people get more rights than single people? That is the problem. If single and married people had the same rights (tax rates, tax credits, etc.) this wouldn’t even be up for discussion.

    • Attmay

      On a side note, why are the taxes for which married couples need benefits being levied in the first place?

      • CynthiaYockey

        Attmay,

        I’m not entirely sure of the point you are making, but the role taxes play is funding the salary and benefit packages of federal employees. People who can marry, and do so, have a much richer benefit package for themselves, their spouse and family than same-sex couples who cannot marry, or whose marriage, thanks to DOMA, is defined as not real and therefore not eligible for the benefits afforded to the more-equal couples who can marry. These benefits include health insurance, pensions, and the right to moving expenses and inclusion in housing allowances and housing — these are especially important for civilians serving overseas, usually in the diplomatic corps — but apply in the States, too.

        Cynthia

  • yarrrrr

    Do you know what happened in Connecticut… they passed a civil union law and then the courts took it the whole way… it’s hard to compromise on this at all…

    Connecticut is why those who say marriage is only between a man and a woman is why we can’t support civil unions…

  • t

    oh please, you are not truly a conservative at all…..of course you have to enforce your fascist agenda through the courts, because the rest of us have figured out its not about rights, its about silencing any who disagree with you…as was proven in CA in the aftermath of prop 8.

    • CynthiaYockey

      t,

      Ironically, the conservative movement is such a big tent that it contains many groups whose views are irreconcilable. For example, I am a fiscal conservative and social liberal, which means that I am for smaller government, lower taxes, a secure border, strong national defense and the separation of church and state, including equality for lesbians and gays. In contrast, social conservatives seem primarily interested in getting their religious beliefs made into law so that they have the government’s powers of force and coercion. This violates the principle of liberty that is at the foundation of the creation of the United States of America as separate and independent of Great Britain. It also violates the Constitutional principle of separation of church and state, which suggests that social conservatives all should be questioned closely about their loyalty to the Constitution and to the U.S.A. In addition, quite a lot of social conservatives seem to be fiscal liberals, who covet not only the power of the government to force people into particular behaviors, and to suppress others, but also the government’s treasury and its power to redistribute wealth. In fact, the conservatives who sat home on Election Day in November 2008 complaining that John McCain was not enough of a social conservative for them may really have been looking forward to the fiscal liberalism of Obama.

      So you see, it is just as easy for fiscal conservatives to define social conservatives out of conservatism as the other way around.

      Cynthia

  • This is why lesbians and gays truly MUST seek equality through the courts.

    I think you are wrong about that. The reason that Roe v Wade has remained an issue for my entire adult lifetime is because it was decided by the courts and should not have been. Had it been decided by the legislature it would never have come up again.

    The legislature is always far far behind. Almost stupidly. We have had gay marriage in MA for long enough for it not to be an issue at all. I’m still not sure it would win the popular vote. Yet gays are comfortable and accepted, and getting beyond the “tags’ which I expect is the real goal.

    • CynthiaYockey

      Jane,

      I have to disagree because it is a myth that the state-by-state legislative fix would have settled the issue of a woman’s right to choose. Opponents of equality and choice for women want to divide and conquer, so the more people they can get to fall for that myth, the better. Ditto for the battle for equality for lesbians and gays. Also, Roe v. Wade established a right federally so that women are equal throughout the U.S., and not more equal in one state or less equal in another. The idea of having your equality vary by state should outrage the conscience of everyone.

      In the fight for equality, gays and women have a common cause against the powerful religions who will wage eternal war to get control of everyone’s reproductive lives, claiming to be representing God and goodness when they really are motivated by greed and lust for power and will do and say anything to get more followers to give them votes and money. This is a perpetual fight. There is no getting out of it.

      Cynthia

  • pj

    In Connecticut the opposition to the civil union bill was a) it’s a backdoor way to same-sex marriage or b) veto the bill because it doesn’t support same-sex marriage (a state wide gay/lesbian group said).

    The governor signed the civil union bill, assuring that it’s not same sex marriage. Along comes a law suite and bam! we have same-sex marriage.

    So in reality it did lead to same-sex marriage. Everyone who was in
    a civil union is now married.

    Oh did I mention the governor who signed the civil union law is a Republican.

  • Ben

    Yeah, I was skeptical of a “conservative” lesbian from the get go.

    You’re no such thing.

    When the democractic process doesn’t work, try judicial activism! There’s nothing at all conservative about that.

    You already have more than equal treatment in all fifty states. There is no list of people who “can’t” get married. You just have to marry a person of the opposite sex, just like everyone else.

    You’re nor oppressed and you’re not conservative.

    • CynthiaYockey

      Ben,

      I meet the definition of a fiscal conservative.

      I am fighting for equality for lesbians and gays in conservative terms and principles. Full equality — not just marriage, but FULL equality — is a matter of liberty and the rights protected by the Constitution. Lesbian and gay equality is indeed protected by the Constitution — so far, there is one place that has been overlooked. I am writing a book on the conservative case for lesbian and gay equality and will discuss it there.

      Also, I reject the Left’s language for the discussion of equality for women and minorities.

      Cynthia

      • Ms. Yockey,
        “Liberty” is not the freedom to do what you want , but rather the freedom to do what you “ought” .
        You err when you define “equality” as” the same”.

        • CynthiaYockey

          chuckfrmvallyforg,

          Actually, equality IS having the same rights that other people have.

          Liberty is the freedom from being forced to serve the wishes and values of other people rather than your own. Your attempt to re-define liberty to allow you to force other people to serve your purposes and values rather than their own won’t wash.

          Cynthia

  • JinEugene

    You have exactly the same right under current law that I do, namely, the right to marry a member of the opposite sex. It appears that you do not care to exercise that right, and that is your business. Are you arguing that the institution of marriage must be broadened until the right to marry is one that you care to exercise?

    • CynthiaYockey

      JinEugene,

      Heterosexuals have the right to marry someone they love and are sexually attracted to so that they can build a life together. So, no, gays are not equally treated under the current law because, by definition, we fall in love with and are sexually attracted to members of the same sex. This makes marriage equality for lesbians and gays a matter of liberty — a concept that conservatives understand much better than Leftists and liberals do.

      Gays and lesbians are fighting for equality and targeting the most noble goals — the right to marry, to adopt children abandoned by their heterosexual parents and to serve in the military. All of the these things make society stronger and more stable.

      Cynthia

      • REX

        So following the same logic…
        If a bisexual woman (heck lets go for the whole trump card- let’s say she is black, and disabled) wants to marry the persons she loves and want’s to have children with. Are you all for that “right” as well? After all it is just about love, isn’t it?
        If not why not?

        Now let’s take it a step further, how about polygamous marriage?
        What if 4 bi-sexual women want to marry with 8 bisexual men?
        It’s all about love , isn’t it? or are you polygaphobic, hateful, mean spirited?

        • CynthiaYockey

          REX,

          Please keep to the topic. Polygamy is not under discussion in this post. I oppose polygamy.

          Also, my late life partner had multiple sclerosis and was quadriplegic the last 10 years of her life. Do not mock people with disabilities at this blog.

          Currently, no minority has more federal laws ensuring their equality than black people. Try to keep up.

          Bisexuals currently have the right to choose an opposite-sex spouse and get married. They generally operate as predators in the gay and lesbian community. I consider bisexuality a predatory behavior motivated by a sexual attraction to a trait of vulnerability. I don’t consider it a sexual orientation. However, just because someone is in a heterosexual marriage and continues to seek same-sex partners, it does not mean he or she is bisexual. A fair percentage of gays and lesbians have married a heterosexual partner for cover.

          The discussion about equality for lesbians and gays is framed most appropriately using the concepts and language beloved and best understood by conservatives: liberty and justice for all, and our Constitution. As a matter of liberty, you are welcome to hate anyone as much as you like. But you are not welcome to force a minority into second-class citizenship using your hatred as your justification, regardless of whether you believe it is commanded by your religion, or by God. It is a matter of liberty in the U.S. that individuals get to make those decisions for themselves.

          Cynthia

          • REX

            Well,
            Where to start, so let’s see if I have this correct, Bisexuals are free to marry someone else of the opposite sex, but not someone of the same sex as well as the opposite sex. It seems you have disdain for bisexuals- calling them predators, and not a sexual orientation- I know bisexuals who would strongly disagree with you on that statement, they claim- like you- to just be attracted to the same sex (as well as the opposite sex). It almost sounds like you relegate them to a second class status, where is their “liberty and justice for all”?

            PS not mocking disabled or black people, just putting it out there, as there seems to be a hierarchy of the disenfranchised.

            I have no hatred for you, or for anyone. I just tire of the “homophobic, hateful, mean spirited” meme that gets attached to anyone who disagrees with the latest thing we are supposed to “accept and affirm” from the gay rights community. Up here in Canada the fight for Tri-marriage of bisexuals has already started. We are also currently having our supreme court decide if “plural marriage” – polygamy is as legal as same sex marriage. Our government was warned by the justice department, that if same sex marriage was legalized, there would be nothing to stop polygamy from being legalized as well. The comment was ” if it is not the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, then who is to say what marriage is”

          • CynthiaYockey

            Rex,

            I do not use Leftist/liberal terminology in my discussions advocating equality for lesbians and gays.

            If you are Canadian, you should be reading Kathie Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury. But the fight and justifications for equality for lesbians and gays — including marriage equality — are entirely different from the fight for polygamy, regardless of what the Canadian department of justice says. For one thing, the Bible is full of examples of polygamy. By framing marriage as a term and institution that can only be defined by religions, everyone is really being set up to be required to accept polygamy, so much so that I am beginning to think that that is one of the desired outcomes from the point of view of religions that see controlling the reproductive lives of their members as their path to establishing their church as the law of the land.

            Cynthia

            P.S.

            Bisexuals have legal equality in their heterosexual lives. They do not have legal equality in their homosexual lives. If they seek plural marriage with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners, they’re still really part of the polygamy movement. And I think scientific research will bear out my observation that they are sexual predators. I’m not saying that in order to insult them — although, since they are predators, I totally do not care if it does — I’m saying that because that is what I’ve observed them to be.

          • Marauder

            I’ve been attracted to both men and women for my entire life, but have only had relationships with men. I met my boyfriend when we were in high school, and seeing as he makes me blissfully happy, I’m not about to seek out some woman to be in a relationship with. Explain to me how this is a “predatory behavior” when there’s no behavior.

          • CynthiaYockey

            Marauder,

            So — your handle is “Marauder” but you are NOT a predator? Also — how old ARE you?

            If your boyfriend makes you blissfully happy, get married, be monogamous and build a life together. On a scale from one-to-10, I have no way of knowing the level of attraction you have to males and females. But it’s not attraction that characterizes predators, it’s behavior. You seem stable, you’ve picked your lane — now follow your bliss and be happy.

            Cynthia

  • Opponents of equality and choice for women want to divide and conquer, so the more people they can get to fall for that myth, the better. Ditto for the battle for equality for lesbians and gays. Also, Roe v. Wade established a right federally so that women are equal throughout the U.S., and not more equal in one state or less equal in another. The idea of having your equality vary by state should outrage the conscience of everyone.

    I think we are talking about different things. Because Roe was decided by the courts it was never considered legitimate, and it probably should not have been. That lack of legitimacy – it is not the court’s function to legislate, has allowed abortion to be a winning liberal talking point since the ’70’s – simply because the lack of legitimacy puts it at risk for being chipped away at.

    I predict the exact same fate for gay marriage if the courts legislate this issue. And I think that is bad. You may think it is worth it, but I don’t.

    JOOC do you think single people should have all the rights of married people?

  • Amy

    Ok, I just have to say it. I think bi-sexuals are basically full of shit. I think most of us are born “gay” or “straight” as it comes to life partnerships. While I recognize that nothing is black and white, I think “bi” males are gay and “bi” females (read celebrities or college girls) are either in it for the sensationalist value or are in denial. This is probably my ignorant take on the subject, but…I just think if you gay, you gay. So go on with your gay bad self!

    Not to say that people can’t be attracted to members of the same sex…I have personally kissed girls (TMI too late alert!).
    and I have seen straight boys do stuff (under the influence, of course) that they normally wouldn’t do. I think sexual attraction can be fluid but sexual orientation…not so much.

    Wait…was that off topic? Hell, I forget what the topic even is, this stupid cat keeps walking on the keyboard.

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