Gay marriage’s time has come

We’d applaud Maui’s state Senate delegation for backing the idea of Gov. Neil Abercrombie calling a special session of the Legislature to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage in Hawaii.

The decision is Abercrombie’s to make because it is doubtful the state House of Representatives can muster the two-thirds majority needed to call themselves into a special session.

It is time to end institutionalized discrimination. According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are 1,138 “benefits, rights and protections” granted to married couples in federal laws. As long as there are benefits for being married, denying those benefits to gay and lesbian couples is blatant discrimination based solely on sexual preference.

Currently, couples who are united in civil unions in Hawaii are not eligible for those benefits.

Supporting commitment, love and strong families – all families – is in society’s best interest. As a society we need to realize that gay marriage is no threat to anybody else’s vows or to the institution itself.

We’d repeat what we wrote back in March when we criticized the Legislature for not taking it up during the last session:

“Society contends it wants to strengthen families, but apparently many mean only families headed by heterosexual adults. We’d maintain that good families are created when there are two committed, loving adults. No further definition needed. . . .

“We need to promote and support loving families wherever we find them. A strong society should reward and promote commitment.”

Hawaii needs to come to terms with gay marriage now. Several lifetimes of state-sanctioned discrimination must come to an end.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.