Hawaii labor community backs marriage equality

September 2, 2013

HILaborMembers of Hawaii’s labor community today voiced their support for Hawaii lawmakers to approve marriage equality.

“This Labor Day, by calling for marriage equality in Hawaii as a labor issue, we affirm our commitment to equality and economic justice for all. An injury to one is an injury to all,” said a statement released by a number of local labor groups.”

The groups signing the letter include UNITE HERE, Local 5; the Hawaii Nurses Association, OPEIU Local 50; the Musicians Association of Hawaii, Local 677 AFM; the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 480; and the United Steel Workers Local 12-591.

“We believe that supporting marriage equality demonstrates core union principles of solidarity, dignity and fairness,” the statement said.  “The facts are simple:  same-sex couples are devoted to each other, love each other, raise children and support their families no differently than opposite sex couples; however, the government’s refusal to recognize their relationships deprives thousands of families of the most important attributes of their labor:  the ability to take care of and provide for their family members.”

The chairman of the State House Labor Committee applauded the move and said lawmakers should approve a bill to legalize same sex marriage during a special session.

 “As we gather to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers, it is important to remember that in Hawaii, the fight included a level of social consciousness to improve the lives of all citizens.  I am pleased to see members of the labor community step up and support marriage equality,” Rep. Mark Nakashima, chairman of the Labor and Public Employment Committee, said.  “Hawaii should resolve this issue now, on our own terms, and not wait until next year or beyond.  It’s time to make a decision. If we do not act now, we will face a flurry of outside influences that will detract from the goal to end discrimination.”