Rep. Georgette 'Jo' Jordan, who represents Hawaii's 44th State House District made history yesterday. She now has the dubious distinction of being the first openly gay LGBT legislator vote against LGBT Equality and Same-Sex Marriage.
As a member of the gay community who has been an advocate and activist fighting for LGBT Equality and rights my entire adult life, I am appalled. By her own admission:
55% of the State of Hawaii is in favor of Marriage Equality
"I might vote against something that I personally believe in. I personally believe I should have the right." - Rep. Jo JordanIn the midst of the growing anger from within the LGBT Community, Jordan held an interview with Honolulu Magazine yesterday to try to explain her irrational vote. The rambling, and at times nonsensical, interview raised more questions than it answered.
She claims that she wants to protect religion, I think. The interview is very incoherent and disjointed, so it is hard to read.
"I haven’t figured out why I felt so compelled to fight for the religious exemptions, to not erode Constitutional rights. I don’t belong to any particular denomination. I don’t wear one of those hats. I take religion out of everything. My religion is the mountain, the aina and spiritual. Everybody finds their own religion somewhere. I have the same values as they do, but it’s just a little different. When I walked into this session, that rose to the surface. Why me? Why am I trying to protect your religious rights?Most of her public statements on the matter thus far similarly lack coherence, so it is hard to analyze the thought process behind any of the decisions that she makes. Since she doesn't seem to have any personal convictions of her own, she has latched onto somebody who clearly does: Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Chairman of the Hawaii House Finance Committee.
I’m still trying to figure out. I’ve always followed paths. I don’t find the path. The path finds me. This, obviously, is a path I’m supposed to go. You’re not supposed to question. Just ‘OK.’"
Rep. Oshiro makes his position on same-sex marriage very clear in his appearance on this episode of Jordan's "Jordan's Journal":
As in her Honolulu magazine interview, her comments all throughout this episode display her incoherence and ignorance on the subject at hand. At one point, she claims that she has only "been here for like 2 years" and "doesn't understand how things work yet". That is unacceptable for any employee, let alone a public servant tasked with making big decisions that affect millions of people's lives.
To her credit though, Rep. Jordan did a great job of memorizing the talking points she was given. While I disagree with Rep. Oshiro, at least he came prepared to defend his beliefs. It is clear that his many years of education have enabled him to clearly form and articulate his positions.
Show Me The Money Trail!
She was appointed to her seat in 2011 and elected for the first time in 2012, so there isn't a very long money trail to follow. The limited information that is available though, is quite revealing.
She collected $37,514 during the 2012 Election cycle. According to both Project Vote Smart and Follow The Money, she received $250 and an endorsement of her candidacy from the National Rifle Association.
Another big backer of Rep. Jo Jordan is Big Tobacco. Altria, (formerly Phillip Morris) gave her $1,000, and R.J. Reynolds gave her $500. The "Friends of Marcus Oshiro" also donated $1000 to her.
I haven't been able to find a direct financial connection to Big Religion yet, but based on her record and that of her mentor, Rep Oshiro, it's pretty evident that one exists. After all, it's not every day that Brian Jones, the president of the anti-gay Hate Group, "National Organization for Marriage" offers his high praise to an openly gay Lesbian for her "integrity":
"Democratic Representative Georgia "Jo" Jordan is an openly gay lawmaker in Hawaii. And she is voting against same-sex marriage. She says the reasons for her opposition are concerns about the use of a special session to force this issue through, and her desire to better understand the consequences of redefining marriage.The right wing anti-gay movement's use of the special session as a reason to attack the vote also falls flat. I don't recall this being raised as an issue when Gov. Rick Perry called THREE Special Sessions to ram the Abortion Bill through the Texas Legislature..
Despite being called "Judas" in the gay press (along with suffering some other malignant and tasteless personal attacks) she is doing the right thing to express concerns about the many examples of punishment that people have suffered when marriage has been redefined elsewhere. Legal scholars on both sides of the issue brought this to the attention of all lawmakers, and it’s gratifying that Rep. Jordan is examining those concerns."
Rep. Jordan's ignorance and apparent inability to form coherent thoughts and positions of her own has allowed her to become a tool that is being skillfully used by anti-gay special interest groups to continue to try to stop the forward momentum of LGBT Equality.
I know that may sound harsh, but the truth sometimes is harsh:
-Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
-Studies indicate that between25% and 50% of homeless youth are LGBT and on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
-In 2011 there were 30 anti-LGBT murders across the country, the highest number ever recorded.
When the driver demanded that we get out of the cab, I was afraid. It was late, there was a storm, we were on an expressway, and I can’t imagine what would have happened if the driver had actually kicked us out of the cab.-Rep. Jo Jordan voted against the LGBT community that she claims to be a part of;
-Rep. Jo Jordan voted against 75% of her constituents;
-Rep. Jo Jordan voted against 55% of the residents of the State of Hawaii.
When you cast your vote against LGBT Marriage Equality, Rep. Jordan, you cast your vote for the continued violation of the LGBT community's civil rights, by default.
Your ignorance is not a sufficient reason to grant you a pass for helping to support the continued violation and suppression of millions of people's rights.
Please join me in asking Rep. Jordan to do the right thing for her district, the state of Hawaii and the LGBT Community and resign, and writing or calling her official office in Hawaii.
If she chooses not to resign, I am sure the good people of Hawaii's 44th District will show her the door in 2014. I will certainly be maxing out my donation to her opponent.
I am certainly willing to listen to alternative theories as to why she may have voted the way that she did. Does anybody have one? Please let me know in the comments below!