Fall 1998 Home   Newsletters

Winter 1998

Spring 1999

President's Message (Jean Aoki)
Changes to the State Excise Tax? (Astrid Monson)
Member Survey
Coordinated Community Response System to Domestic Violence (Val Kanuha)
Fairest Among Thousands (Betty Smith)
Making Democracy Work: Campaign Finance Reform (Toni Worst)
Wetlands & Agriculture: Public Interest and Public Benefits
League Local News - Hawaii County
League Local News - Kauai County
League Local News - Honolulu League
Education Committee (Mary Anne Raywid)
General Election Statistics for 1996 & 1998
Population Explosion: 6 Billion People in 1999
Scorecard on Gambling Positions
Model UN Project (Helene Hale)
State Board Actions
Web Page

Member Survey

Indications are that the issue of domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians will again be addressed by the legislature in the 1999 session. Governor Cayetano has said that he would propose a domestic partnership package stronger than the current reciprocal beneficiaries law.

Of course this will be a very controversial issue. There will be organized opposition as well as support of this measure. The leaders of the Save Traditional Marriage coalition have denounced it calling it "another name for marriage". Some of the groups that were part of the Protect Our Constitution coalition will be actively supporting it. There were many others who while voting for the "amendment" stated that they would support a domestic partnership arrangement.

As you know, we did not enter the debate on domestic partnerships in the previous legislative sessions. We did oppose the amendment to the constitution which has now added another section to Article I. Bill of Rights – a Section 23 which gives the legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples. We opposed it on the grounds that it introduces discrimination into our Bill of Rights besides giving the legislature a power over rights that it should not have.

The Statement of Position on Individual Liberties, as announced by National Board, March 1982 reads:

The League of Women Voters of the United States believes in the individual liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. The League is convinced that individual rights now protected by the Constitution should not be weakened or abridged.

The Position in Brief reads: (Oppose major threats to basic constitutional rights.)

Points to consider

According to the courts, the law passed by the legislature in 1994 stating that Hawaii's marriage law applies only to opposite-sex couple violated Section 5 of our Bill of Rights which reads:

No person shall be deprived o life, liberty or property without due process of laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of the person's civil rights or be discriminated against in the exercise there of because of race, religion, sex or ancestry.

The amendment passed in 1998 was worded to avoid a challenge by leaving the decision to lawmakers rather than banning same-sex marriage outright, which might have been construed as targeting gay men and lesbians, according to professor Van Dyke in an article in the Nov. 23 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser.

The crux of the domestic partnership issue, or for that matter any issue that deals with rights for gays and lesbians, is framed extremely well by John Flanagan, editor and publisher of the Honolulu Star Bulletin in his "Letter to Readers" in a November issue.

"...Those who feel homosexuality is a chosen behavior feel legalizing same-sex unions threatens traditional marriage and that unless it bans them the state will be condoning depravity.

"Others are just as convinced that homosexuality is an innate condition or predisposition. They feel gay marriage is implicitly sanctioned by the State Constitution's guarantees against discrimination on the basis of gender. The courts have agreed with the [   ].

"Unfortunately, the courts have not ruled on whether homosexuality is a status – like race, age or national origin – or a choice. More's the pity, since everything flows logically from that.

"I also believe gays who say they'd never willingly choose their sexual orientation. For millions to opt for the consequences of such a choice is too perverse to be credible."

Your Call

The League of women Voters can remain silent on the issue of domestic partnerships, or we can testify in favor of such arrangements on the grounds that all of our people are entitled to the same rights.

Kauai League has taken the position that we should back a domestic partnership bill only if equality with marriage rights is achieved, including child parenting rights.

The State Board, at its November 21 st meeting, decided that polling our members on this issue was in order. We would appreciate your filling out the following survey form and mailing it back to: The League of Women Voters of Hawaii, 49 S. Hotel St. #314, Honolulu, HI 96813

Member Survey

Name Local League

A. League of Women Voters should not take action in favor or recognizing domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians.

B. League of Women Voters should take action in favor of recognizing domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians.


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