Home > civil unions > Live Blogging Lingle’s Civil Union Announcement

Live Blogging Lingle’s Civil Union Announcement

It’s weird. I’m sitting here looking at the seal of Hawaii, soon to be occluded by the Governor, Linda Lingle, who’s set to make her announcement. I guess this is a live blog….

That seal translates into English, roughly, as “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” And one of the two figures on the seal is the Goddess of Liberty. Let’s see whether the governor’s physical blocking of the seal also represents a symbolic obliteration of the lives of her LGBT citizens.

We’ve just heard that she’s to appear in “a minute or two,” followed by the now-ritual plea to silence phones. The only other sound has been a persistent cough.

Here she comes, greeting the media with an “Aloha.” She’s invited representatives on both sides of the bill. Now she’s asking people not to react until she’s done. Enough, already….What’s her decision?

Now she’s thanking everyone.

She’s vetoing the bill. It’s a good thing, it turns out, that we can’t see the seal or the Goddess of Liberty.

She has been “open and consistent” in her opposition to same-sex marriage, and this is the same thing by another name.

She’s become “convinced that this issue is of such societal importance that it deserves to be decided by all the people of Hawaii.”

So much for representative government. There are some issues that call for direct democracy, she says (without specifying which ones, or how that’s decided, or why people get to vote on others’ rights) and now she’s blaming the legislature for its maneuvering — maneuvering, by the way, that’s common. Now she’s criticizing the Democrats, as though she’s not signed bills passed by similar maneuvering in the past. This is just a diversion from the reasons for her decision, as she all but admits later (during Q and A). (I’m now editing this post.)

Now she’s blathering on about how deeply people of all ages and beliefs feel about the issue. A “big island” man had moved her by his story telling him about coming out to his traditional family, but was similarly moved by a mother who was concerned about her kids learning about same-sex couples and how they’re the same as opposite-sex couples.


Definition of marriage — we’re all invested, not just same-sex couples. Well, that’s true, but she doesn’t stop to consider the disparate impact on the two groups.

This should be decided “behind the curtain of the voting booth” — in other words, in complete and safe anonymity. This is the dignified approach. Dignity? Give me a fucking break. Would she be saying this about interracial marriage? That we should respect people’s rights to vote on others’ civil rights? But she doesn’t see this as a civil rights issue, obviously.

And then she has the nerve to talk about the “honor” of the political process.


She made her decision about a week ago, and had gone back and forth because of the strength of the arguments on the pro side. But they’re not arguments she bought.

Aren’t you just passing the buck?¬†You’re supposed to make difficult decisions and not pass it along to the voters.

Unanswerable, really. More boilerplate about the will of the voters.

Will this define your term as governor?

It will be the most discussed, but then ticked off a list of her accomplishments.


I really don’t want to listen to the rest of this, beyond noting that she’s again passing the buck. She says she respects the same-sex couples who came before her, but ultimately that’s just not true.

Yes, I was wrong in my prediction of earlier today. But that’s because I thought that Lingle would understand that the feelings of those directly affected would matter more than the sentiments of those worried about some possible discussion they’d have to have with their kids — discussions they should already be having, given the reality of same-sex couples and their families.

History will judge her harshly, as it should.

One last note: She predicts that the civil union issue will end up on the ballot. Maybe that’s right, and if so, maybe the electorate will do the right thing. But we shouldn’t need that to happen. It’s a shame the simple power of equality held no sway over this governor. May her final days in office be tortured by doubt.

  1. Nick
    July 7th, 2010 at 06:57 | #1

    Lingle hasn’t done the right thing, for anyone, since she became Governor. Sadly, HB 444 will be far from the worst thing on her record when we look back on her. “Furlough Fridays,” the decision to cripple the education of the children of Hawaii because she wanted to toe the party line and refuse tax increases, will stand out far more than anything else she has done.

    She also doesn’t seem to care that the vast majority of things are done in Hawaii WITHOUT public votes. Hawaiians do not have an initiative/referendum process. The Legislature rarely puts things to a full popular vote because that’s not the way we do business.

  1. No trackbacks yet.