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(c) by Mary Griggs

Tuesday was a chance for a politician to do the right thing and, instead, she blinked. The Hawaii legislature passed the controversial Civil Unions bill by a vote of 31 to 20. Governor Lingle had the option to either sign or veto the bill, or allow it to become law without her signature.

In her opinion, the legislature was manipulating the process and that the bill they passed did not reflect the will of the people. Of her veto, Linda Lingle said, “After months of listening to Hawaii’s citizens express to me in writing and in person, their deeply held beliefs and heartfelt reasons for supporting or opposing the civil unions bill, I have made the decision to veto House Bill 444. I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same gender marriage and find that House Bill 444 is essentially marriage by another name.”

I am outraged that the pursuing of LGBT civil rights is now considered a manipulation of the process. I know that during the 1960’s, if we had gone with the will of the people for deciding civil rights and other social issues, that schools would still be separate, people could choose to not sell homes because of the color of the skin of the buyers, and Rosa Parks would still be sitting at the back of the bus.

Just go back a little further when women did not have the right to vote. Leaving it to the will of people, would Ms Lingle have been eligible to hold the office of Governor?

Part of the role of government is to protect minority citizens from the tyranny of the majority. We used to be able to expect our elected officials to be brave in their defense of all citizens. While some comfort can be taken in that the legacy she leaves will be one of exclusion and bigotry, because history is here with us and love, not out there with hate.