Wolfson: Lingle Veto "Profoundly Disingenuous"



Freedom to Marry executive director Evan Wolfson called the civil unions veto from Hawaii governor Linda Lingle “profoundly disingenuous” as exemplified by her recommendation that the public should vote on the issue, which it already did in 1998.

Wolfson served as co-counsel in the landmark 1993 Hawaii marriage case Baehr v. Miike, credited with launching the ongoing conversation about marriage equality. He spoke with The Advocate on Wednesday morning about Lingle's veto, which she announced Tuesday evening.

“The governor’s statement was profoundly disingenuous from A to Z,” said Wolfson. “She did the wrong thing for the wrong reason.”

Gov. Lingle, a Republican, announced on the last possible day that she would veto the civil unions bill passed by the legislature in April. During the press conference in Honolulu, she made repeated suggestions that voters, not elected lawmakers and executives, should decide the question.

“I am vetoing this bill because I have become convinced that this issue is of such significant societal importance that it deserves to be decided directly by all the people of Hawaii,” said Lingle.

The term-limited Republican also said, “This is a decision that should not be made by one person sitting in her office or by members of the Majority Party behind closed doors in a legislative caucus, but by all the people of Hawaii behind the curtain of the voting booth.”

Wolfson said her argument mischaracterized the discriminatory constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1998, which gave the legislature the power to restrict marriage. Amendment 2 followed years of litigation after the Hawaii supreme court ruled in Baehr that denying same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional.

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