Washington, DC - November 4, 1998 - DignityUSA, the nation's largest and oldest organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, is disappointed by the decisions of Hawaii and Alaska voters to not respect the rights of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.
Voters in Alaska and Hawaii were asked on November 3 to amend each state's constitution and limit the right to marry to members of the opposite sex. In Alaska, voters were asked to amend the Declaration of Rights section of the state's constitution to limit marriage to couples of the opposite sex. In Hawaii voters were asked to empower the legislature to amend the state's Constitution and Bill of Rights and "reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples".
Commenting on the results of the two ballot initiatives, DignityUSA President Robert F. Miailovich said, "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics throughout the United States are disappointed in the outcome of yesterday's votes in Hawaii and Alaska. What causes us greater sadness is the fact that our civil rights have been made the subject of a ballot referenda. With the urging of the Catholic bishops in both states the people of Hawaii and Alaska were persuaded to write discrimination into their state constitutions." Miailovich went on to say, "All people in our society - and that includes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons - must enjoy the opportunity and freedom to marry. Our civil right to marry cannot be denied to us. Ultimately the fear that was used against us will be replaced with the recognition that our right to love and enter into committed relationships is legal and binding."
Charles L. Cox, DignityUSA Executive Director, also commenting on the results of the vote in Hawaii and Alaska said, "The message of fear that was used against us by the radical right has unfortunately won this time. We can however take solace in the example of other civil rights advocates who continued to fight for equality despite severe losses and after being rebuffed by the majority." Commenting further, Cox went on to say, "Speaking for our members and supporters, and for myself as a person of faith, I am saddened by the fact that some communities of faith opposed our civil right to marry. Over thirty years ago, it was in and because of our communities of faith that the modern civil rights era got its start. It is my hope, and that of our Dignity members and supporters nationwide, that one day the women and men who opposed our civil right to marry will come to honor and respect our right to love. Ultimately we know that the lies and the distorted picture painted by the radical right about the lesbian and gay community cannot stand up to the truth that is reflected by our lives."
DignityUSA, founded in 1969, is the nation's largest organization of Catholic lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons, and their loved ones, families and friends.