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Hawaii civil unions battle illustrates real motivation of gay foes

Timothy Kincaid

June 14th, 2010

Republican Governor Linda Lingle will decide within the next week whether to veto the civil unions bill passed by the Hawaii legislature. As part of her process, she has met with both supporters and opponents of the bill and an AP article gives a little insight into what they said.

Lingle is Jewish and, as such, is probably not much swayed by appeals to Christian orthodoxy. But the activism and approach by the two rabbis most influential with the Governor does reflect on what is behind most anti-gay activism.

Krasnjansky, who heads the Orthodox community group Chabad of Hawaii, said the Torah teaches that homosexuality, and by extension same-sex marriage, “is not something that should be condoned or should be legalized,” he said.

But Schaktman, who leads the Reform Temple Emanu-El, insists Judaism teaches that all people regardless of sexual orientation are and should be treated as “children of God,” and thus should not face discrimination.

“Civil unions are a legal arrangement,” he said. “Therefore, anyone who uses religion to oppose civil unions is purely using religion to further homophobia.”

Lingle is Jewish, but has rarely — if ever — publicly discussed her faith in considering an issue. Lingle’s office did not respond to phone or e-mail questions about her religious affiliation.

The debate between Krasnjansky and Schaktman mirrors that of Hawaii’s Christians. Catholic, evangelical and conservative pastors have waged a months-long effort to prod the Legislature and now Lingle to block the measure, HB 444. Mainline Protestant and more liberal preachers have worked to get the bill signed.

But I think the matter is bigger than just discrimination towards the gay and lesbian children of God. It’s a battle over the establishment of religion.

There is a concerted attempt on the part of State Churchists (of various faiths) to legislate their doctrine and thus claim the mantle of “real Christians” and “real Jews”. And, sadly, I don’t think that the more liberal religious adherents have yet realized what is at risk.



Rob San Diego
June 14th, 2010 | LINK

You know this reminds me a lot of a gay conservative radio commentator here in San Diego named Steve Yuhas. You see Steve is also jewish and being jewish and conservative he puts all that before his rights of a homosexual. Steve things that states should have the right to enact sodomy laws and enforce them. His jewish faith tell him that gays should not have the right to marry. However he thinks that it was OK for him to serve in the military but other then that gays should have no rights here in America. he will straight up tell you on the air that he puts his jewish faith first above all else.

paul j stein
June 14th, 2010 | LINK

I guess we should “forget” all the Gays & Lesbians who died in the NAZI death camps ALONG WITH THE JEWS. Right?

paul j stein
June 14th, 2010 | LINK

This is the contact link for the Governor of Hawaii

June 14th, 2010 | LINK

Expressing that GLBTs are “children of god” and should be treated with compassion and equality and etc. is, I think, a good way to help convince people within a religious community to open their hearts.

But it should not be used as a legal argument.

Fine line.

June 15th, 2010 | LINK

There is a concerted attempt on the part of State Churchists (of various faiths) to legislate their doctrine and thus claim the mantle of “real Christians” and “real Jews”.

Exactly! This must be opposed regardless of SSM because this involves our most precious rights guaranteed in the First Amendment!

John Doucette
June 15th, 2010 | LINK

Get religion out of the issue. Privately, one can believe whatever one wants. One presumes the state legislature has done the will of the people by passing the law. For the governor to veto the bill for strictly religious beliefs is unacceptable. We are not all Judeo-Christian and our rights and lives should not be decided by somebody’s religious beliefs.

June 15th, 2010 | LINK

I love when members of the religious right say we don’t need to redefine marriage, and they use the existence of civil unions and domestic partnerships to back them up, claiming those afford the same rights as marriage (actually, they don’t). This is another example that illustrates they are full of crap. They say we should be happy with Civil Unions, but in reality, they don’t want us to have those either.

Mark F.
June 15th, 2010 | LINK

Supporting “civil unions” ought to be a no-brainer for a rather secular Jew like Ms. Lingle. She need not step into the minefield of same sex marriage but can give gay people a few rights with little cost to the taxpayers. Let’s hope she does the right thing and, if not, the legislature can override the veto.

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