Rainbow banners were flying high in gay pride parades across the mainland on National Equality Day Sunday.
Here in Honolulu, the day was observed in Kakaako at Dave & Buster’s in the Ward Entertainment Complex.
A portion of the proceeds from the day’s fundraiser will go to the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida in Orlando.
The event, sponsored by the LGBT caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, also celebrates a year anniversary of marriage equality.
One year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, held that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. States that had opposed the argument were then required to issue marriage licenses or recognize the out-of-state licenses of same-sex couples.
Gays and lesbians nationwide may be touting that they’ve come a long way, but on this Sunday, the fear is that they haven’t come far enough.
This is an election year when voters will choose the president who will select the next Supreme Court justice and fill other judicial seats down the road. The local Democratic Party’s LGBT caucus is telling the community the only way to hold on or to expand LGBT rights is to vote.
“This is the most important election we’ll see in this generation,” said chairperson Michael Golujuch. “We got to get people for justice and equality on every level, not just presidential but congressional, state house races, and the mayor’s race as well.”
But Hawaii’s voting numbers have been dismal, so the caucus is stepping up efforts to make sure LGBTs are registered to vote, educated on the candidates, and committed to going to the polls come November.
“If they don’t get involved, maybe we wouldn’t have as strong a voice,” Golujuch said. “Numbers move politicians, so it’s important to show we have power in numbers.”
Tambry Young and wife Susan were at the center of Hawaii’s civil union and same-sex marriage challenges a year ago, and they stress it’s crucial for LGBT voters to be active, and not just on issues that specifically relate to them.
“I don’t think any community can sit back and allow things to happen,” Young said. “We have to get involved.”