by Peter Sprigg
July 9, 2010
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has vetoed the bill to create civil unions that the legislature passed in a last-minute legislative maneuver in April. It was refreshing to see Gov. Lingle declare straightforwardly, I have been open and consistent in my opposition to same gender marriage and find that HB 444 is essentially marriage by another name. Its refreshing mostly because last year, two other governorsNew Hampshires John Lynch and Maines John E. Baldaccicaved to homosexual activists under similar circumstances, and signed bills to legalize same-sex marriage.
However, in reading a news report about the veto, something else caught my eye. Heres what the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said about one of the critics of the veto:
“It’s beyond problematic,” said Steven Levinson, a retired associate justice of the state Supreme Court, whose daughter is a lesbian… . Levinson authored the landmark 1993 ruling that held that it was discriminatory for the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Now wait a second. The author of the very first court decision in American history that was supportive of same-sex marriagehas a lesbian daughter? Doesnt that suggest a little problem of judicial ethics known as a conflict of interest?
Of course, Levinsons landmark ruling was 17 years ago. His lesbian daughter might not have been out of the closet in 1993 (or might not have been born, for that matter). But it raises an interesting question, which iswhy am I the only person asking if this is a conflict of interest? If judges are going to rule on issues involving the supposed civil rights of homosexuals, dont they have a conflict if a close family memberor even they themselvesare homosexual? Shouldnt they be required to recuse themselvesor at least disclose the potential conflict?
Of course, its logically quite possible that a judge could rule objectively on the issue of same-sex marriage even while having a family member who self-identifies as gay. It is liberalsnot conservativeswho assume that there is a contradiction in loving a homosexual person while opposing same-sex marriage. But the way that Levinson spoke out publicly this week suggests that for him, liberal emotionalism trumps conservative logic. So its reasonable to ask whether it might also have trumped judicial restraint back in 1993.
You can only imagine the complaints of bias from liberals if the judge ruling on a case that arose from the Gulf oil spill were found to own stock in BPor even if his daughter did. Given their hostility to religion, the reaction might be even worse if a judge ruling on an issue involving a local churchsay, one of the Episcopal churches whose ownership is disputed by its conservative congregation and liberal diocesewere found to be a member of that same church (or even if his daughter was).
Why are there not similar howls when a judge who has a gay childor is gay herselfrules on issues involving homosexuality?
I guess liberal political correctness includes a lot of double standards.