The Corner

Gay Lawmaker in Hawaii Voted Against Gay Marriage Because of Religious-Liberty Worries

As legislation allowing gay marriage in Hawaii heads toward its ultimate approval, state representative Jo Jordan explained why last week she became the first openly gay lawmaker to vote against same-sex marriage: She was worried about the effects gay marriage would have on religious liberty.

In an interview with Honolulu Magazine, Jordan says she didn’t really have time to process the decision because of how busy the special legislative session was. So, she just decided to “take it as it goes.”

“When I walked in here, I said, all I have is my integrity, to do my best I can,” Jordan says. “When this issue started arising, I had to think to myself, you need to stay grounded in what your root beliefs are. I’ve won an election, and sworn to uphold the constitution of the state as well as the United States. You have an obligation to this institution.”

She says that she had to take her “personal hat off” and think about the law as a legislator whose decision will affect 1.4 million people in her state.

With that in mind, Jordan discusses how she could have come to a decision that, says, everyone in the LGBT community would not understand:

I am not part of any faith-based group. . .  I had come to the decision that SB1 needed to amended. It wasn’t protective enough for everybody. . . .

I really am not happy with the exemptions. Too narrow.

I’m not here to protect the big churches or the little churches, I’m saying we can’t erode what’s currently out there. We don’t want to scratch at the religious protections at all, because if we don’t create a measure that’s bulletproof, or as close to bulletproof as possible, then the measure will go to the courts. And they will interpret it however that may be. A judge will make assumptions and make a ruling, and that will become the law of the land. So you really want us to create the legislation.

I haven’t figured out why I felt so compelled to fight for the religious exemptions, to not erode Constitutional rights. I don’t belong to any particular denomination. I don’t wear one of those hats. I take religion out of everything. My religion is the mountain, the aina and spiritual. Everybody finds their own religion somewhere. I have the same values as they do, but it’s just a little different. When I walked into this session, that rose to the surface. Why me? Why am I trying to protect your religious rights?

I’m still trying to figure out. I’ve always followed paths. I don’t find the path. The path finds me. This, obviously, is a path I’m supposed to go. You’re not supposed to question. Just ‘OK.’

Via First Things.

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