The Legislature’s Social Laggards

It’s become very clear from the polls (and especially polls of young voters) that the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church and the legislators who are standing fast against same-gender marriage have fallen far behind the social times.

I anticipate the churches’ response: Doctrine doesn’t follow polls. I anticipate the naysaying lawmakers’ response: I vote my conscience and honor the religious beliefs of my constituents.

I understand that, and I’m respectful of beliefs and conscience. I just state the fact that those churches and those lawmakers have fallen far behind the social times. They choose to stay there at their survival risk.

Remember when we prohibited cross-race marriages?

There’s no good defense of belief or conscience to deny others that which you would not do yourself – not unless it’s something that harms you.

So if I were Catholic or Mormon or didn’t believe in same-gender marriage, I’d say, “You go ahead and do what you want but it’s not for me.”

Sometimes churches catch up with the social times. The Mormon Church historically did not admit blacks to the lay priesthood, so few blacks stayed on as members. Then one evening in 1978, church leader Spencer Kimball said he had a revelation. Admit blacks. Done.

As for the legislators, they run by districts and can ignore statewide voter sentiment. They’re safe if they’re in conservative, Catholic or Mormon communities. But they’ve fallen behind the social times. Someday they’ll be called to answer for that.

In 1970, Sen. Vincent Yano, a Catholic, supported our pro-abortion law. Gov. John Burns, a Catholic, let it pass. They were attuned to the social times.

The likely Senate “no” voters this time – Donna Mercado Kim, Mike Gabbard, Ron Kouchi, Donovan Dela Cruz and Sam Slom, and maybe five House members shepherded by minority leader Aaron Ling Johanson – will go down in our history as the social laggards of 2013.

Perpetually parked at Waikiki | Bob Jones photo

Mayor Caldwell, this ain’t right. More than a dozen people set up “artist stands” nightly on Waikiki public sidewalks. You lawfully roust the homeless from sidewalks but ignore your legal powers and give those money-making encroachers a free ride.

Gov. Abercrombie, this ain’t right. You had your tax people make farmers market merchants show cash register receipts for excise tax collected and revenue received. Yet you give the fee-charging sidewalk merchants in Waikiki a free ride.

Then there’s the case of the fellow (pictured, sleeping in the cab) who’s been living in his disabled truck on Kalakaua Avenue near Waikiki Aquarium for many months. He uses the adjacent moped for transportation.

I have some sympathy for him, but you can’t “own” a beachfront parking space! I guess he’d argue that the law says a vehicle can be tagged as “abandoned” and towed after 24 hours in one spot. But he’s in it, so it’s not “abandoned.” Interesting legal point!