IF ANYTHING, BILL WOULD HELP BUDGET
Regarding "State Senate poised for final vote on Hawaii civil unions bill" (Jan. 9), it is troubling to read that the governor and other legislators suggest that the civil unions bill is a distraction from the budget crisis and should be delayed. If anything, the opposite is true.
In this unprecedented economic crisis, civil unions are needed now more than ever.
Firstly, civil unions will produce a net economic gain to the state due to civil unions license fees, increased tax revenues, civil unions business and civil unions tourism.
Secondly, civil unions will provide an additional economic safety net to same-sex couples and their children no different than what Hawaii currently provides to married couples and their children. When a gay or lesbian person loses his job due to the state's economic crisis, should he not be able to obtain health insurance for himself and his children through his same-sex partner's employer just as he could if he had a legal spouse?
Gay and lesbian residents of Hawaii are impacted by this economic crisis in the same manner as non-gay and -lesbian residents. We pay the same taxes but are denied equal protection under the law.
ALAN R. SPECTOR, LCSW | Legislative committee co-chair, Equality Hawaii
WHAT WOULD JESUS REALLY DO?
Jesus advised his followers to "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." House Bill 444 deals with civil unions, not same-sex marriage. Can anyone honestly say that Jesus would oppose its enactment?
SUSIE AND RANDY ROTH | Honolulu
LEGISLATORS MUST PUSH BACK AT LINGLE
The Lingle administration has completely fizzled in the handling of the fiscal crisis. It has targeted public employees and teachers, created furloughs, undermined education, and shown a marked recalcitrance in negotiations with the teachers' union and the Board of Education.
The teachers had reached a reasonable compromise that would restore furlough days with the least harm to the teachers' ability to prep for their classes. The Lingle administration rejected the terms worked out by the teachers' union and the DOE.
Our legislators have been silent too long. They have allowed Lingle and her departments to lay off employees, establish furloughs, and drastically slash social services and the budgets for the public schools and UH.
My earnest hope is that the legislators will hike the excise tax by 1 percent to 2 percent for a two-year duration. This would be preferable to undermining education, health and social services. It's time for our legislators to act and reverse the harmful downward spiral that Lingle's actions have made worse.
JOHN WITECK | Honolulu
DISCOVERY CAN HELP STATE BUDGET
So, someone found the long-lost moon rocks in a cabinet somewhere. And they're worth $10 million?! I have two ideas.
First: Sell the rocks and use the proceeds to pay the teachers so we can eliminate more furlough days. We never missed those rocks while we had them — and $10 million sure will help us now.
Second: Have everyone else in the government clean out their cabinets to see what else we can find.
ANN ALLRED | Läie
DEATH WITH DIGNITY
WASHINGTON, OREGON SHOW LAWS CAN WORK
Karyn Herrmann (Jan. 7) cites an incident in which an elderly man shot his terminally ill wife and later killed himself as possibly leading to "death with dignity" legislation in Hawaii. She also claims that such legislation would give "the government" the right to decide who should live and who should die. Not so.
Oregon and Washington have enacted death-with-dignity laws. In these states, a terminally ill patient can ask his or her doctor for a lethal dose of medicine. Only the patient — not the doctor, husband, or anyone else — decides whether to use this lethal medicine.
Both state laws contain strict safeguards to ensure that the patient is really terminal, is of sound mind, and is not being coerced by others to take this step.
Herrmann also raises the spectre of such laws leading to sterilization of persons with disabilities, and mercy killing of the frail or disabled. The Oregon law has been in effect since 1997, and there is no evidence that it has led to the horrible consequences which Herrmann describes.
ANTHONY LENZER | Kailua
SENATOR WRONG ABOUT ED CASE
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye's remarks about Ed Case's candidacy for the House of Representatives is equivalent to his reluctance to support Barack Obama's run for the presidency.
Inouye was wrong then, so I see no reason to think he is right now. Basically, Inouye thinks candidates should wait their turn, as he determines it. No whippersnappers allowed.
HANK CHAPIN | Honolulu
PRESIDENT WORTHY OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Since President Obama has been elected, he has inherited all the opala from past government leaders. It is a true blessing that through his actions and wisdom, he has pulled us through a possible economic collapse.
He is not only admired by Americans but citizens throughout the world. I think it is commendable of our city and state leaders to acknowledge his dedicated efforts to maintain and improve the freedom and beauty that we live as Americans in the state of Hawaii.
michael springhetti | Waianae