It’s Time for Marriage in Hawaii: Laurie & JanJuly 2, 2013
On New Year’s Day in 2012, after a dozen years together, Laurie and Jan were bonded together in a private civil union ceremony in Honolulu. Several months later, they celebrated their commitment surrounded by supportive family, friends, and coworkers. Not long after that, they added two adorable French Bulldogs to their family.
Although their ceremony and reception were meaningful and beautiful, although their lives are full of joy — it didn’t take long for Jan and Laurie to realize the difference between civil unions and marriage. And that difference is clearer than ever now that the Supreme Court has overturned the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Even though DOMA was struck down, families joined in a civil union are still denied the protection and security of marriage. While legally married same-sex couples will now have access to the federal safety net, families like Laurie and Jan remain vulnerable.
Jan and Laurie want to share in the freedom to marry for the same reasons as any other couple. They want to protect and take care of each other. They want to spend time doing the things they love — traveling and going to the beach — without having to worry about their future together. They want to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other family.
Despite their love and commitment, Laurie and Jan are a second-class couple in the eyes of the law. But Hawaii legislators can change that. They can extend the freedom to marry to all loving couples so they’re given equal protection under state and federal law.