A few overnight developments on the veto of HB444 ...
Hawaii's dominant newspaper has slammed the twice-divorced Republican governor's veto of HB444. In an editorial in the Star-Advertiser, the editors criticize Gov. Linda Lingle's "weak rationalization" for vetoing the "most consequential" legislation put before her.
"I am vetoing this bill because I have become convinced that it is of such societal importance that it needs to be decided by all the people of Hawaii," she said. This is a weak rationalization. Decisions dealing with the civil rights of a minority population -- and HB 444 in its essence attempts to equalize the civil rights of all couples -- are unsuited to be put to a popular vote. Civil rights decisions of the past, including the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, would not have won passage had they been left up to the electorate. Preventing the tyranny of the majority is precisely the province of representative government.
Democratic State Sen. Les Ihara Jr: "She is taking us back 100 years if we are going to decide civil-rights issues by majority rule."
"It's beyond problematic," said Steven Levinson, a retired associate justice of the state Supreme Court, whose daughter is a lesbian. "By definition, civil rights can't be defined by the majority. That's why we have a Bill of Rights, both at the federal and the state level. By their very nature, individual liberties are intended to be counter-majoritarian."
Anti-gay Catholic Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is also a candidate for governor, applauds the veto for "making this difficult and courageous decision." If elected governor, Aiona says he "will propose a constitutional amendment to take the issue to the voters."
Former congressman and pro-equality gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie: "It will be up to the next governor and Legislature to ensure that all people of Hawaii receive equal treatment. Protecting people’s civil rights cannot be compromised."
Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii will file a lawsuit against Lingle and Hawaii. The suit has been ready since the House tabled HB 444 in January.