IN QUOTES

Lesbian Dem. Rep. Who Voted Against Marriage Equality In Hawaii Explains Her Decision

Jo_JordanIt has been interesting. I am not part of any faith-based group, so I walked in thinking those were going to be the ones going, grrrr, grrrr. But unfortunately, it’s been coming from my community during the hearing. I was like, ‘Wow, so much for minorities that have been suppressed.’ But I’ve got to look at it this way: Maybe they feel they’ve been suppressed for so long that they no longer can contain it and they are just going to lash out at anything without thinking first. But I have to keep that faith to help me not take it personally. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about, are we creating a measure that meets the needs of all?

I had come to the decision that SB1 needed to amended. It wasn’t protective enough for everybody. And I truly know, my GLBT community is not going to go somewhere where they are not welcome. They are not going to go, “Pastor, you need to marry us, even though it is against your grain.” Because they want their happy day to be a happy day. A couple isn’t going to step into something that’s not warm and welcoming. We’re really looking at those fringe guys, those ones that pop up on the edges that say, “You’re treading on my rights, so I’m going to come and challenge you.”

When you look at a measure, you have to consider, how do we make this the golden standard, as bulletproof as possible? My major concerns on SB1 was, first, the parental maternal rights, 57-2c, that wasn’t healthy. That definitely needed to be fixed. The religious exemption was not adequate enough. And the divorce portion in there is not fair. We’re talking about creating equity. They have made a provision here where you don’t have to domicile here. And I totally get what they’re saying, but I have some serious problems with that. We should at least make some sort of domicile in our state, so they can file for divorce here.

I really am not happy with the exemptions. Too narrow.

I’m not here to protect the big churches or the little churches, I’m saying we can’t erode what’s currently out there. We don’t want to scratch at the religious protections at all, because if we don’t create a measure that’s bulletproof, or as close to bulletproof as possible, then the measure will go to the courts. And they will interpret it however that may be. A judge will make assumptions and make a ruling, and that will become the law of the land. So you really want us to create the legislation.

I haven’t figured out why I felt so compelled to fight for the religious exemptions, to not erode Constitutional rights. I don’t belong to any particular denomination. I don’t wear one of those hats. I take religion out of everything. My religion is the mountain, the aina and spiritual. Everybody finds their own religion somewhere. I have the same values as they do, but it’s just a little different. When I walked into this session, that rose to the surface. Why me? Why am I trying to protect your religious rights?

I’m still trying to figure out. I’ve always followed paths. I don’t find the path. The path finds me. This, obviously, is a path I’m supposed to go. You’re not supposed to question. Just ‘OK.’

At the end of the day, the way SB1 HD1 is written right now, walking into the third reading I can’t say it is written the best that we can provide to all.  If that’s at the risk of not allowing same-gender couples to get married on Dec. 2, I can’t stop that, I’m sorry. We want to make sure it’s good. It’s not about who gets to the finish line first.  It’s just not.”

— HI Democratic Rep. Jo Jordan in an exclusive interview with Honolulu magazine tries to explain her national news-making decision to vote against the Aloha state’s same-sex marriage bill SB1