March 1, 2007
After a grueling five hours of testimony, Hawaiian lawmakers refused even to vote on a bill in committee that would have allowed same-sex unions. Later, the state's legislators refused to offer an explanation for the move, but we applaud the Hawaii Family Forum for motivating voters to voice their opposition to this dangerous measure. The vote in Hawaii is more evidence that legislatures are reluctant to change the public understanding of marriage when they are free to debate and vote in the absence of a judicial decree that puts a finger on the scales of justice.
Hawaii is a politically liberal state, but it was one of the first in the nation to grapple with a pro-homosexual judicial ruling upsetting the man-woman character of marriage. When Hawaii courts first ruled on the matter roughly a decade ago, voters amended the state constitution to require that any changes in state law on the nature of marriage could only be made by the elected branches of government, not judges.
This stands in sharp contrast to the judicially-driven outcomes in Vermont, Massachusetts, and now New Jersey. It also has the virtue of being more honest: elected officials must account for themselves, and not point to another branch of government and say, "They made me do it." Whatever your position is on this issue, or any other controversial matter, voters should expect their elected officials to stand on the courage of their convictions, not the convenience of coercion.