Hawaii’s Governor: Civil unions ‘reinforce our core values of equality and aloha’

It’s way more to fun to read about the outcomes of legislative battles for equality when we win. And, reading about Hawaii today was a lot better than reading it last July when then-Governor Linda Lingle vetoed the civil unions bill. Today’s Star Advertiser article has some great quotes today. One is from a gay citizen and the other comes from the Governor.

First, Tim Earhart:

The president of Dignity USA-Honolulu, who founded what he called the first “gay church” when he moved to Hawaii 41 years ago, was moved to tears at what he witnessed.

“I, with my own two eyes and ears, got to witness this historic moment when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning people are now elevated to the status of ordinary citizens,” said Earhart, 64.

“We no longer have to apologize for loving one another.”

Then, Governor Neil Abercrombie, who campaigned on his commitment to sign the civil unions bill. He has until March 3 to apply his signature. And, there’s no doubt he’s on board:

In a written statement, Abercrombie said civil unions “respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha.”

“This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended,” he added. “Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected.

“For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii.”

John updated yesterday’s post on the Hawaii legislation with the video of the Senate taking its roll call vote on the civil unions bill. Here it is again:

H/T Igor Volsky for the video.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

HAWAII: Civil Unions Bill Passes Final Hurdle, Passes To Desk Of Governor

Just in from Equality Hawaii!

Equality Hawaii, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, today applauded the Hawaii legislature for approving civil unions for the second time in ten months. The bill, which was passed in its amended form today by the Hawaii Senate on an 18-5 vote, now heads to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. “We honor and thank the legislature today for their commitment to equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Hawaii, said Alan Spector, co-chair of Equality Hawaii. “For the second time in less than a year, legislators have dedicated themselves to providing dignity and respect to all families in the Aloha State.”

Congratulations Hawaii! Linda Lingle can SUCK IT.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Watch: Alabama Governor Apologizes for ‘Christian Brother’ Remarks

 

Bentley

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley made a post-inauguration apology for remarks he made at a Baptist church on MLK Day regarding non-Christians.

Said Bentley at the MLK Day service: "So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother." 

Said Bentley on Wednesday: "The terminology I used, I believe, seemed to disenfranchise other religions, and it certainly was not meant to do that…It was never my intension to disenfranchise anyone. If I did make anyone of any faith feel disenfranchised, let me say I am sorry."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

RI Governor, Speaker calmly rebut Catholic Bishop who ‘lashed out’ on marriage bill

Yesterday, the Providence Journal reported that the state’s Catholic Bishop “lashed out” against the proposed marriage law. Instead of kowtowing to the Catholic Bishop, the Governor and Speaker of the House concisely explained why they are pushing marriage:

Chafee, who is Episcopalian, stood by his support of gay marriage, repeating an argument he made in his inauguration speech that permitting gay and lesbian couples to legally marry is, to some degree, an economic issue for the state.

“The status quo economically is not working. Our foundation here in Rhode Island was built on tolerance and acceptance, and this is an area I want to move our state forward on, by building on our strengths of centuries ago,” he said. “Let’s give marriage equality a chance to grow our state.”

Chafee senior adviser Stephen Hourahan said later that the governor believes that legalizing gay marriage can provide incentive for “the best and brightest” talents — especially gay and lesbian professionals — to consider relocating to the state for job opportunities. It can even help boost the wedding industry. “It’s the idea that to have it in place is a very positive thing to a state,” said Hourahan.

Fox also spoke out against the bishop on Friday. “This has been debated for decades, and it will be debated [again]. No one is saying just because we want it early in the session that it’s not going to get a full debate. Of course it’s going to get a full debate,” he said. “We’re familiar with the issue. It’s not being rushed. But at some point, at some time, you need to bring this to a conclusion, and I think this is the year to do it.”

Elected officials in heavily Catholic countries like Ireland, Spain and Portugal have ignored the rantings of their Bishops over same-sex marriage laws. It’s good to see that some politicians in the United States are able to do the same thing.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Cuomo Inaugurated as N.Y. Governor

ANDREW CUOMO X390 (GETTY IMAGES) | ADVOCATE.COMAndrew Cuomo, who pledged during his campaign to make marriage equality a priority, was inaugurated as governor of New York on Saturday.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Thank You, Governor Paterson

As his final day in office winds to a close for Governor David Paterson, LGBT New Yorkers should offer him our thanks for being the most relentlessly and loudly pro-gay governor in state and arguably, national history. Our state movement’s two most important pieces of legislation, GENDA and marriage equality, remain unattained, but that, of course, is due to our clown car of a state Senate and is no fault of the governor’s.

Paterson, to his everlasting credit and over the loud protests of bigots, issued an executive order protecting state employees in New York from discrimination based on gender identity and expression. In May 2008, he directed state agencies to recognize out of state same-sex marriages, a move countered by numerous (and unsuccessful) lawsuits. And if there was a marriage equality rally or an angry protest, we usually showed up to find Governor Paterson at the podium or on a bullhorn. Probably my most memorable moment of Paterson’s tenure was watching him stand in a pouring rain in Washington Square to deliver an impassioned speech against the bullying and abuse of LGBT youth.

And let’s not forget Gov. Paterson’s unexpected selection of an obscure upstate legislator with wobbly bona fides to fill the formidable shoes of then Sen. Hillary Clinton. Many questioned that move at the time (myself included), but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has surprised us all and turned into a powerful and effective advocate for LGBT New Yorkers. Sen. Gillibrand may turn out to be Paterson’s most enduring legacy for the good of our movement.

We’ve had the occasional disagreement with Gov. Paterson, in particular the continuing exclusion of indigent HIV patients from the state’s rent relief program for the seriously ill. But even that bad decision grew out of the state’s financial morass and not from animus. Today, let’s thank Governor David Paterson for his support of the LGBT community and hope that one day soon, we’ll again see thousands of New Yorkers happily marching in the NYC Pride Parade wearing stickers proclaiming “We Luv Our Guv!”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

HRC Governor Receives Community Service Award from Orlando Area LGBT Organization

HRC Governor Jennifer Foster will receive the Metropolitan Business Association’s 2010 Debbie Simmons Community Service Award.

The Debbie Simmons Community Service Award is given each year to “an individual who has demonstrated integrity and leadership in their business endeavors while supporting and promoting the fight for LGBT equality.”

In addition to being a founding member of HRC’s Orlando Steering Committee, Jennifer has been a tireless advocate for LGBT rights in Orlando through her organizing efforts fighting against anti-marriage opponents in the state and her support for fair minded local, state and federal candidates. Jennifer’s spirit, energy, sense of humor, and smile have opened minds and hearts in Orlando and beyond.

The HRC family is so proud of Jennifer for this well-deserved recognition.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Illinois Senate Passes Civil Unions Bill, On To Governor

Today the Illinois Senate on passed a civil unions bill by a 32-24 vote. The vote comes just days after the House passed the same bill 61-52. The bill now goes to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who has  been a vocal supporter of the bill and is expected to sign the it into law

The bill, introduced by Rep. Greg Harris and passed by both the House and Senate, would permit both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions and receive the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under Illinois law that are granted to spouses.  The bill, however, does not provide for same-sex marriages.

In addition to Illinois, ten states plus Washington, D.C. offer state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples.  Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C. provide committee LGBT couples the freedom to marry.  New York and Maryland recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Five other states—California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington —provide same-sex couples with civil unions or domestic partnerships.

It is important to recognize that despite victories such as this,  same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.  For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit: www.HRC.org/State_Laws


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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SPECIAL TO JMG: Father Tony Interviews CT Lt. Governor Candidate Nancy Wyman

As the CFO of a state agency in Connecticut for many years, I attended monthly meetings of the State Bond Commission where I would present and explain projects needing funds to a panel including the Governor, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer and Nancy Wyman, the State Comptroller, or her openly gay Deputy, Mark Ojakian. I developed a respect for these two dedicated public servants who delivered many years of efficient financial management and who made diversity and safety for LGBT people in the workplace look natural and easy.

Now, Nancy Wyman is in the final week of her campaign to become Connecticut’s Lieutenant Governor as the running mate of Dan Malloy, the Democratic candidate for Connecticut Governor. I was delighted that she agreed to answer a few questions for the readers of JoeMyGod.

Has same-sex marriage changed Connecticut?

Same sex marriage has been legal in Connecticut for two years with no bad effects. And, because it is legal in Connecticut we have enjoyed an influx of visitors from other states coming here for celebrations. This has had a significant and positive economic impact on Connecticut. Some people in other states that are still debating same-sex marriage fear its repercussions. Any message for them?

I just have no idea what they are afraid of. It just makes sense to not stand in the way of letting people love and live as they prefer. Have you always been supportive of the concept of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in general?

I’m proud to say that Dan Malloy and I were among the very earliest supporters of first civil unions and then same-sex marriage in Connecticut. Both of us didn’t need any convincing. We both testified in favor of civil unions and for same-sex marriage while many others hesitated. It’s how we believe things should be. I never dreamed I would officiate at a same-sex marriage but I have, and it’s wonderful.

As a straight married wife and mother, why were you always such a strong advocate for LGBT rights?

It might be due in part to the way I was brought up by my parents. Everyone was welcome in our home. I learned the importance of taking time to get to know people. Once you know somebody, you respect and value them. It might be due in part to the fact that my husband was passed over for promotions in a large Connecticut insurance company because he is Jewish. We had to fight for our rights just as you had to fight for your right to be out and comfortable as a state employee. I’ve been very happy to see the state government workplace improve over the years for LGBT employees. I’ve been lucky to have Mark Ojakian who was the highest ranking out state employee as my Deputy. I’m proud of Kevin Lembo who is also an out gay man and was in my agency and is now running for my previous position as State Comptroller.

We still need to do more outreach to young LGBT people who get bullied. We are just now realizing how extensive and serious a problem this is. It’s shocking and sad and we have much work to do to change this.

Any final message for the readers of JoeMyGod?

Yes. Please vote. No matter what state you live in.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Nate Silver Predicts Republican Landslide In State Governor Races

In states with a 50% or more chance of flipping their governorships, elections prognosticator Nate Silver predicts that the vast majority of the changes will be in the GOP’s favor. (Although Florida’s race is still a statistical tie, it is listed at the top because current governor Charlie “Closet Case” Crist is technically an independent.)

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright