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.
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?