I was there when the Governor of Hawaii vetoed House Bill 444
A guest opinion piece by Être Humain
I was there at the Hawaii State Capitol when our governor, Linda Lingle, vetoed House Bill 444, which would have given all couples the right to get a civil union, homosexual or heterosexual. All of us came out early in the morning to wave signs for equality, and many showed their support by honking.
After we learned that she would veto the bill, we were all disappointed, and many got up to the microphone and spoke about their long-term relationships. One man, with his boyfriend for five years, said he wonders everyday that if something happens to either of them, the other will be granted visitation rights. Another man, with his boyfriend of twelve years, called Lingle a “coward,” and yelled, “Shame!”
Everybody knew that even though her decision affected gay couples’ lives personally, it would not be the end. Hawaii’s ACLU and HRC have already vowed they’d litigate until the case reaches the Supreme Court. Other politicians came out to show their support, including Gary Hooser, majority leader of the Hawaii Senate, and Justice Steven Levinson, who authored the Supreme Court’s Baehr v. Lewin back in 1993, which deemed same-sex marriages constitutional.
There were many people dressed in white with buttons that said “iVote”, alluding that they would vote out supporters of equality. For the most part, we ignored them and they ignored us. After Lingle handed down her decision, her supporters sang hymns and yelled out prayers, swaying with their hands in the air.
[July 6] was a big defeat for equality, but Hawaii activists vow to never stop fighting until the LGBT community is treated as first-class citizens: as equals.