Doing the right thing

Hawaii’s new marriage equality law goes a long way to ensuring an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

It means that gays and lesbians can benefit from all federal and state laws and regulations that pertain to marriage. More simply, it means that couples can demonstrate their commitment to each other by marrying.

By passing the House’s amended version of SB1, the Legislature made sure that clergy and churches cannot be punished for refusing to perform marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs. In short, First Amendment guarantees of freedom of religion were protected.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law Wednesday morning after the Senate accepted the House’s version Tuesday. Gay and lesbian marriages could begin to be performed on Dec. 2.

A Maui News story Wednesday recounted views of the special session from both sides of the issue. Rep. Angus McKelvey of West Maui summed it up pretty well when he noted that, “Neither side got everything.”

No, but by adopting the House version of the bill, both sides got significant somethings.

We’d repeat what we said often during debate on the issue:

Allowing gays and lesbians to marry does not threaten anyone’s heterosexual marriage or the institution itself.

We agree with what House Speaker Joe Souki of Maui said about the new law:

“This is not going to upset the whole culture of Hawaii, it’s simply allowing loving people to get married.”

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.