Marriage equality is now the law in Hawai'i!

After more than 20 years of struggle, on November 13, 2013, Hawai'i became the 15th US state to provide full marriage rights to same sex couples.  As a result, and thanks to the recent US Supreme Court ruling invalidating Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, same sex couples who marry in Hawai'i, or who were married elsewhere and move to Hawai'i, will have access to over 1,000 federal benefits.

Here is a list of the State Senators and Representatives who voted for the bill:

Senators:

Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D)
Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (D)
Sen. J. Kalani English (D)
Sen. Will Espero (D)
Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (D)
Sen. Josh Green (D)
Sen. Clayton Hee (D)
Sen. David Ige (D)
Sen. Les Ihara, Jr. (D)
Sen. Gilbery Kahele (D)
Sen. Glbert Keith-Agaran (D)
Sen. Michelle Kidani (D)
Sen. Clarence Nishihara (D)
Sen. Russell Ruderman (D)
Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D)
Sen. Malama Solomon (D)
Sen. Laura Thielen (D)
Sen. Jill Tokuda (D)
Sen. Glenn Wakai (D)

House members:

Rep. Della Au Belatti (D)
Rep. Tom Brower (D)
Rep. Denny Coffman (D)
Rep. Cindy Evans (D)
Rep. Faye Hanohano (D)
Rep. Mark Hashem (D)
Rep. Linda Ichiyama (D)
Rep. Kaniela Ing (D)
Rep. Derek Kawakami (D)
Rep. Bert Kobayashi (D)
Rep. Chris Lee (D)
Rep. Nicole Lowen (D)
Rep. Sylvia Luke (D)
Rep. Angus McKelvey (D)
Rep. John Mizuno (D)
Rep. Dee Morikawa (D)
Rep. Mark Nakashima (D)
Rep. Scott Nishimoto (D)
Rep. Takashi Ohno (D)
Rep. Richard Onishi (D)
Rep. Karl Rhoads (D)
Rep. Scott Saiki (D)
Rep. Calvin Say (D)
Rep. K. Mark Takai (D)
Rep. Gregg Takayama (D)
Rep. Roy Takumi (D)
Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R)
Rep. Jessica Wooley (D)
Rep. Kyle Yamashita (D)
Speaker Joseph Souki (D)


Please thank the Senators and Representatives that stood for equality! (http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/members/legislators.aspx?chamber=all)

Labor support for marriage equality grows!

UHPA, UPW stand up for marriage equality!

Both the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and United Public Workers recently announced their support for marriage equality in the upcoming special session, joining UNITE HERE Local 5, Hawaii Nurses Association (OPEIU Local 50), USW Local 12-591, Musicians Association of Hawai'i, SAG-AFTRA Hawai'i, Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii State Teachers Staff Organization, Machinists Local Lodge 1998, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 480, Pride At Work Hawai'i, and Labor Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

Mahalo to all these labor organizations for supporting LGBT workers and their families!

Go to our "Take Action" page for instructions on how to submit testimony.

To read the Labor Day Statement on Marriage Equality, see below.

Check out these great letters to our elected officials from the leaders of:
-HNA President Joan Craft
-SAG-AFTRA President David Farmer and Executive Director Brenda Ching
-USW 12-591 Hawaii Unit Chair Pat Koge

Review our "Marriage Equality as a Labor Issue" talking points here.


Marriage equality is a labor issue


Labor Day statement on Marriage Equality

For Hawai‘i unions and allied organizations, this Labor Day is an important opportunity to put the campaign for marriage equality in the context of the labor movement’s ongoing struggle for a more economically just society.

We proudly recognize that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer workers and their families are part of our movement.  We believe that supporting marriage equality demonstrates core union principles of solidarity, dignity and fairness.  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.

With the overturning of key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, the unequal treatment afforded same-sex couples in Hawai‘i has become ever more glaring.  Unlike their sisters and brothers in states from Maine to California, they are denied over 1,000 federal benefits, including paying their federal taxes as a couple, taking family medical leave to care for their spouse, and collecting spousal Social Security benefits.  Every day that goes by without this recognition is a day that these couples and their families lack key protections and benefits.  This inequality is unfair, unjust, discriminatory and anti-union.

Fifty years ago, visionary and committed labor leaders like A. Philip Randolph and Walter Reuther helped lead the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  They recognized that economic justice without equality, and equality without economic justice, are impossibilities.  Unfortunately, many unions, unwilling to challenge racism among their membership and within their segregated structures chose to sit out the historic March.  Hawai‘i’s labor history shows how allowing divisions by race and ethnicity weakened our movement; it was only when we embraced the shared struggle for economic justice that we found the power to make historic achievements.

This Labor Day, we are asking all of our brothers and sisters in Hawai‘i’s labor movement to join us in supporting marriage equality.  As we celebrate the dignity of all working people, we do not feel it’s an option to ignore the issue of LGBTIQ equality.  We encourage LGBTIQ union members and allies to speak out within their unions when they are able, and invite union leaders to address these issues courageously.  Equality is not a “wedge issue;” it is a value that unites all working people.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “Working people believe in equality and fairness, and that’s why we are happy to stand with millions of Americans and with President Obama in supporting marriage equality.”  This Labor Day, by calling for marriage equality in Hawai‘i as a labor issue, we affirm our commitment to equality and economic justice for all.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Hawaii Nurses Association, OPEIU Local 50
Hawaii State Teachers Staff Organization
Labor Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii
Musicians’ Association of Hawaii, Local 677 AFM
Pride At Work Hawaii
UNITE HERE! Local 5
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 480
United Steel Workers Local 12-591

Happy Pride Month!

Pride At Work Hawai'i was well represented at the Honolulu Pride Parade, with Morgan, Justin, Tod, Pat, Dustin, Jeremy, Kris, Steve, Devin, Jim, and Scott (from Local 5, HGEA, Musicians, UHPA, USW, HNA, and non-union) rocking our Most Epic Pride Float EVAH.  It featured six workers showing their pride while grooving to "9 to 5" and "She Works Hard For The Money," while rainbow balloons, ti leaves and bubbles - and rainbow beads for the crowd - helped keep everything festive.  We made sure to give a special shout-out supporting workers' rights at the Hyatt to remind the crowd to boycott the hotel.  It was also great to see THREE local labor unions represented: Local 5, HGEA, and, for the first time, United Public Workers (UPW)!!  Let's look forward to more unions next year!
Tod, Scott, Pat and Steve staff our booth
At the post-parade Celebration at Kapiolani Park, lots of folks stopped by our booth to join our email list, pick up buttons, and chat. Eighty attendees enthusiastically signed on to our Hawai'i Needs a Raise campaign (calling for the Legislature to pass a $2/hour increase to the state minimum wage without any increase to the tip credit).  Several mentioned that they only earn minimum wage, and that our current minimum ($7.25 - lowest in the US) is disgracefully low.   


 

P@WHI also took part in Kaua'i Pride activities, co-presenting a mini-conference, "Pride and Justice in the Workplace," along with PFLAG-Kaua'i and YWCA Kaua'i.  P@WHI Board members Pat and Jessie presented a workshop on workplace rights for LGBT people.  Other presenters included keynote speaker Amy Agbayani and transgender community leader Ashliana Hawelu.  Kaua'i mayor Bernard Carvalho and council member Gary Hooser both attended the event.

Pride At Work Hawai'i Out and Organizing!