Sunday, March 30, 2014

Not All Democrats In Hawaii Have Been On The Side Of The Angels In The Struggle For LGBT Equality


Last week, you may recall, Blue America did a end-of-the-quarter fundraiser for our House candidates. The name of one of the most generous contributors looked vaguely familiar, so I looked him up. Steven H. Levinson was a judge on the Hawaii Supreme Court and the reason why I had his name in my memory bank was because he authored the lead opinion in Baehr vs. Lewin, the first-ever court ruling to determine that denying marriage to same-sex couples was discriminatory. That was 2 decades ago and that battle has come a long way-- in the face of bitter on-going opposition, not just from Republicans, but from conservative Democrats. Ironically many of those conservative Democrats who have voted against marriage equality-- like Donna Mercado Kim, Will Espero, and Mark Takai-- are now running for the Honolulu-based House seat left open by Colleen Hanabusa's campaign against Brian Schatz. (Schatz has been a full-on advocate for equality and Hanabusa has flipped and flopped on the issue, having held back progress while in the state Senate.) In any case, Judge Levinson made it clear that the candidate he's backing in the congressional race is Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, an equality champion.
In my years of fighting for civil rights on behalf of Hawaii’s LGBT community, I have worked with public officials and community leaders to build grassroots support for a just cause. Some have always supported marriage equality, but others have “evolved” on the issue-- motivated by personal reflection, political considerations, or a combination of both.

There is reason to celebrate such conversions and welcome support from all quarters when building a coalition. But when choosing a leader, we want someone who has been on our side, fighting for our rights, from day one. That leader is Stanley Chang.

Stanley is serving with distinction on the Honolulu City Council and is running for U.S. Congress in Hawaii’s first district. He has never needed to “evolve”-- he has always been with us on full equality under the law for the LGBT community in Hawaii and in America.

In Congress, Stanley will be a strong advocate for enacting employment nondiscrimination protections. He will fight for treating our LGBT kupuna with the utmost respect and for repairing harm done to gay and lesbian veterans who were unfairly given dishonorable discharges under the former “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. Stanley understands the pressures faced by our keiki, who often experience bullying and harassment in schools just for being different.

Stanley’s command of the issues will make him a valuable representative for Hawaii in Washington. He’s with us not just on LGBT rights but on all of the key struggles, from raising the minimum wage to reforming Wall Street; from defending Social Security to protecting our environment. What Hawaii needs now is a progressive champion who will have our back.

Hawaii’s values don’t merely tolerate diversity; they celebrate it. We deserve a representative in Washington who will not only vote with us but will be a champion of our cause, leading the fight for the next generation. Stanley knows that our spirit of aloha does not deny full membership in the community to anyone based on whom they love.

Please join me in supporting Stanley Chang.
As you know, Blue America has also endorsed Stanley Chang for this House seat, not just because of the equality issue, but because of a record of across-the-board progressive leadership. Earlier today he explained-- in one sentence-- what he hoped to accomplish in Congress, telling us he wants to work with other Members "to enact a bold agenda for change that will set Hawaii and America on a path to prosperity by raising the minimum wage, reforming Wall Street, and fixing our broken immigration system."

Stanley is up against a gaggle of candidates from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. If you'd like to join Justice Levinson and Blue America to help make sure he wins the crowded primary, you can do that here on our ActBlue page.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home