Réka & Lynne

August 14, 2013

Reka and LynneJust over 19 years ago, Réka and Lynne met at a Country-Western Dance night. After several missed connections, they hit it off, and they’ve been together ever since.

Today, their family includes one adorable kitty — and loved ones both near and far. Much of Lynne’s family lives on Oahu so time together is plentiful and full of joy. Réka’s family is in Hungary so the couple travels there every year for an extended visit.

Lynne and Réka have built a great life in Hawaii — with wonderful friends, loving family, and a supportive community. But after nearly two decades together, one thing is missing.

Réka and Lynne aren’t able to get married in the state they call home.

In Hawaii, committed same-sex couples like Lynne and Réka are denied the freedom to marry. Instead, they’re forced into the second-class status of civil unions.

When the Supreme Court struck down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June, legally married same-sex couples were given access to thousands of critical protections.

But even with the Court’s ruling, Hawaii couples in civil unions are denied the security they need and deserve. For Lynne and Réka, that means a lot of extra expense — and stress.

Réka’s employer provides insurance coverage for all legally married couples, including same-sex couples. But because they can’t get married, Réka can’t cover Lynne. The couple stretches their budget to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket — because they can’t get married in Hawaii.

This is just one of many ways that Lynne and Réka are treated as second-class in the eyes of the law. After almost 20 years together, they’re as committed and loving as any other couple. Shouldn’t we treat them with the same respect and dignity as all Hawaii families?