While liberals celebrate Hawaii's gay marriage bill, which was signed into law yesterday, there was one interesting aspect of this story; an openly gay state legislator decided to vote against it. So, while the Aloha state basks in the glory of gay marriage, State Rep. Jo Jordan has also made history by becoming the first openly gay lawmaker to stand against it.
Why did Rep. Jo Jordan vote against something that most in her party staunchly support? She felt that it violated religious liberty. In an interview with Jordan by Diane Lee of Honolulu Magazine, she said:
"My major concerns on SB1 [Hawaii's gay marriage law] was, first, the parental maternal rights, 57-2c, that wasn't healthy. That definitely needed to be fixed. The religious exemption was not adequate enough. And the divorce portion in there is not fair. We're talking about creating equity. They have made a provision here where you don't have to domicile here. And I totally get what they're saying, but I have some serious problems with that. We should at least make some sort of domicile in our state, so they can file for divorce here."
"I really am not happy with the exemptions. Too narrow."
"I'm not here to protect the big churches or the little churches, I'm saying we can't erode what's currently out there. We don't want to scratch at the religious protections at all, because if we don't create a measure that's bulletproof, or as close to bulletproof as possible, then the measure will go to the courts. And they will interpret it however that may be. A judge will make assumptions and make a ruling, and that will become the law of the land. So you really want us to create the legislation."
"I haven't figured out why I felt so compelled to fight for the religious exemptions, to not erode Constitutional rights. I don't belong to any particular denomination. I don't wear one of those hats. I take religion out of everything. My religion is the mountain, the aina and spiritual. Everybody finds their own religion somewhere. I have the same values as they do, but it's just a little different. When I walked into this session, that rose to the surface. Why me? Why am I trying to protect your religious rights?"
"I'm still trying to figure out. I've always followed paths. I don't find the path. The path finds me. This, obviously, is a path I'm supposed to go. You're not supposed to question. Just 'OK.'"
Well, this is quite the twist in the fight over marriage equality.