After Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a civil unions bill, the San Francisco Chronicle asked the question “Should civil union veto mean Hawaii boycott?”
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has prepared the state’s largest industry for the reaction with its warning, “Civil unions backlash begins.”
Most of the blame for the veto has been heaped on Hawaii’s Mormon population. Though just 5 percent of the population, Oahu is home to a branch of Brigham Young University and the church as always been active in Hawaii politics.
The blame, however, should be placed directly on the state’s Jewish Republican governor. Though same-sex marriage is performed in most branches of Judaism, Lingle belongs to the small, right-wing Chabad movement.
The Honolulu newspaper said a boycott wouldn’t hurt people and businesses in the state that support civil unions. More of them should have lobbied the governor to sign. An airline that’s a member of an LGBT Chamber of Commerce could have warned that a boycott might mean fewer flights a week to her state. Large hotel chains that market to the LGBT community could have lobbied the governor to support the bill. Restaurants, stores and other businesses that have relied, in part, on business from the LGBT community might have made more of an effort to let the governor know that discrimination doesn’t create a good environment for travel.
Rabbi Peter Schaktman from the state’s largest synagogue made his opinions clear. Schaktman was a Houston rabbi before moving to Honolulu in 2005.
“People who oppose civil unions from a religious perspective are asking the state to enforce their version of morality on their behalf,” he told the governor.
His synagogue’s website continues to invite same-sex and opposite-sex couples to celebrate their weddings at Temple Emanu-El.