January 27th, 2013

Gay Democrats are again pressuring state Sen. Mike Gabbard over his opposition to same-sex marriage.

In a statement on Sunday, the party’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender caucus said it was “extremely disappointed in the vigorous way in which Senator Gabbard is working at cross-purposes with the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the governor and the president regarding marriage equality.”

Gabbard (D, Kapolei-Makakilo) has introduced a bill that would put the issue before voters as a constitutional amendment in 2014.

While there are many Democrats at the Legislature who oppose same-sex marriage, activists have sought to hold Gabbard accountable for his opinion. Gabbard was one of the leaders of the movement against gay marriage in the 1990s.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii’s state central committee upheld a reprimand against Gabbard in 2009 for actively opposing a civil unions bill, undermining the party’s platform in favor of equality and civil rights.

“We hoped that the reprimand Senator Gabbard received from both the Oahu County Committee and the Democratic Party of Hawaii would have made Senator Gabbard realize that he cannot work against the party platform,” Eileen McKee, caucus representative to the state central committee, said in a statement.

6 Responses to “Reminder”

  1. Bart Dame:

    I share the LGBT’s disappointment in Senator Gabbard’s continued opposition to equal rights for all our people. His position is in unambiguous opposition to the Democratic Party’s platform. As the person who made the motion to reprimand Senator Gabbard, I had also hoped his thinking would have evolved as his daughter’s views appear to have.

    But Senator Gabbard CAN “work against the party platform.” At least, no elected official has yet, to the best of my knowledge, been disciplined by the Party for introducing, arguing or voting for legislation in conflict with the DPH platform. A complaint was filed–and dismissed–recently against Donovan Delacruz for pushing a bill which ran counter, in the eyes of the complainants, with the Party’s support for environmental protection.

    The previous reprimand of Senator Gabbard was not for introducing, arguing or voting for a bill in opposition to the platform nor for failing to support a bill consistent with the platform. It was for certain ways in which he “actively” opposed the platform. And the standard established by that precedent was not “active opposition” to the platform. It was a judgemnt that Senator Gabbard had gone too far with that active opposition when he organized with others to defeat fellow Democrats in elections because of their support for the platform. Then, and current, Oahu Chair provided a useful rationale for the decision in comments to the press at the time.

    From GIll: The Democratic Party does not insist on uniformity of conscience. Nor does the Democratic Party insist on uniformity of vote. However, the party does expect that persons who hold office under our banner shall NOT actively organize against our platform.”

    “It is consistent with Democratic Party tradition that candidates and elected officials may hold views in variance with one or more of the points advanced in the platform. Indeed, Governors elected as Democrats have held such views. The party will in most cases defer to a legislator’s choices based on reason or personal conscience. However, a line is crossed when a legislator–or any party member–undertakes to actively mobilize opposition to the platform, and most clearly when the platform point is one of core belief. I trust this reprimand will be understood in that light.”

    In my arguments against Gabbard at the time, I argued he was meeting with groups organizing to defeat Democrats for their support of civil unions and had himself made threats to help defeat them in future elections should they vote for civil unions. By doing this, he crossed a line far beyond his official duties as a legislator or voting his personal conscience. When someone seeks to run for office and benefit from their membership in the Democratic Party, they agree to adhere to certain MINIMAL standards of consistency with the Party’s platform and Rules. The Party is awfully flexible in interpreting that minimal standard, but will take action against the most egregious violations. In 2009, it was decided he had gone too far. So far, this time, I have not seen evidence this is the case. Should such evidence emerge, I expect a second violation would receive a stronger sanction than a first time offense.

    The LGBT Caucus, and the Party officers and activists more broadly, need not threaten Senator Gabbard in order to win passage of full marriage equality. Because of the long, patient work they (and others) have done since the early 1990s, public opinion in Hawaii, and across the United States, is moving towards equality in marriage rights. I don’t mean to underestimate the timidity of legislators–they have disappointed all of us in the recent past. On this and other issues. But I think this issue can be won on its merits, not through forced compliance with the platform. Let’s put our energy into lobbying.

  2. Auto de Fe:

    You may not oppose us. We are gay. We are morally superior to you. Bow before us…..

  3. ohiaforest3400:

    Seriously, what about the Sharon Hars and John Mizunos of the world? In her effort to out-Gabbard the senator from her district (that would be, uh, Mike Gabbard), Har also introduced a constitutional amendment bill to limit marriage to one man and one woman. Don’t hear the Dems complaining about that.

    Mizuno introduced two constitutional amendment bills, one to permit marriage between couples of the same or opposite sex, and one to limit it to opposite sex couples. In his world, that will allow the one that gets the most votes to win. Mizuno’s world is where he wants to be like by everybody, takes no position that might offend anybody, and proposes odious legislation not (supposedly) because he likes it but so that “the people” can decide. Yecchhhh. Everyone — not just the Dems– should complain about that.

  4. Chicken Grease:

    Heh, 2nding Auto de Fe. Yeah, their sentiment is also, “oh, let’s engage in something the straights invented and the occassion upon which Jesus performed his first miracle.” Real objective, they are.

  5. Bill:

    Who’s kidding who here? Gabbard is still the same ole hatemongering bigot he ever was! Never understood how he was allowed in the Democratic party, he’s not a Democrat! He will be defeated along with all the religious nuts who supported him and his ill-advised ruling in 1998 that will be replaced with Marriage Equality very soon!

  6. zzzzzz:

    “Har also introduced a constitutional amendment bill to limit marriage to one man and one woman.”

    Who would that one man and one woman be, and what about the rest of us who want to be married?

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