It’s Time for Marriage in Hawaii: Renea & Lika

June 27, 2013

ReneaLikaWhen a friend introduced Renea and Lika over the phone, they talked for hours — and kept talking for months.

They had no idea they’d end up spending their lives together. But 19 years later, Lika and Renea are more in love than ever.

Together, they’ve built a life — one that isn’t all that different from other families. They go to work and give back to the community. They spend their free time growing organic foods, exercising, and reading. They look forward to traveling together.

Although they’ve been taking care of each other for nearly two decades, Renea and Lika’s commitment isn’t recognized in the state they call home.

In 1999, they stood up in front of friends and family on Lanikai Beach and made a lifelong commitment to one another. They promised to be there for each other in good times and bad. They promised to love each other always.

Despite that promise, Lika and Renea are denied the protection of marriage. In Hawaii, they’re only able to get a civil union.

Now that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act has been struck down, the difference between civil unions and marriage has never been more clear. Couples in a civil union will still be denied access to the federal safety net.

Renea and Lika don’t want to be a second-class couple anymore. They want their relationship to be given the same dignity and respect as other couples — but that won’t happen unless Hawaii legislators act and extend the marriage to all families.

After 19 years together, don’t Lika and Renea deserve to share in the freedom to marry?