Honolulu, HI —
Hawaii state Rep. Jo Jordan, who is openly lesbian, on Friday voted against a gay marriage bill, becoming the first openly gay lawmaker to vote against such legislation.
(Related: In an interview which took place before Friday's vote, Jordan told Honolulu
magazine that she opposed the bill because it failed to meet "the needs of all."
"I had come to the decision that SB1 needed to [be] amended," Jordan explained. "It wasn't protective enough of everybody."
"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 equality. 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."
Jordan was referring to a section of the proposed bill that allows gay couples who marry in Hawaii to file for divorce in the state without taking up residency (usually 6 months) if the couple lives in a state without marriage equality.However, the requirement is not waived for couples living in states that allow gay couples to marry.
"I really am not happy with the exemptions. Too narrow," she added.
"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."
The religious protections found in the amended version of the bill approved by the House were reportedly modeled after Connecticut's marriage law, considered to have the nation's broadest religious exemptions.