#AlohaFelicia: Gay Hawaii Representative Who Voted Against Marriage Equality Loses Reelection

Ousted Democrat Jo Jordan claimed she voted for what her constituents wanted.

The first openly gay state representative to vote against marriage equality has lost her bid for reelection.

Hawaii state representative Jo Jordan, a Democrat from Waianae and an out lesbian, voted against a same-sex marriage initiative in 2013.

At the time Jordan claimed she had to vote for what her constituents wanted, not her personal views as a lesbian. (The bill passed anyway, making Hawaii the 16th state to embrace the freedom to marry.)

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As she explained to Honolulu magazine:

I always have taken my personal hat off, my personal beliefs away from it, and said, “Look at the substance, what is the measure, have you heard all the dialogue, have you vetted everything? Have all your questions been answered? And are you willing to make a decision for the 1.4 million people in the state?” For your constituents, but also for the whole state.

I know who I am, I’m grounded in who I am, I’ve never hid who I am. And when I walked in this door, the GLBT community came knocking on my door and they said, “We’re so glad you’re here. Come on in here.” And I’m like, “I’m Jo, I’m a legislator, those are my hats first.”

But Jordan’s constituents don’t think she knows what they want: She was defeated in the primary on Sunday by a man who wasn’t even supposed to be on the ballot.

Cedric Asuega Gates, who ran against Jordan two years, will now face Republican Marc Paaluhui in the November general election.

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But the Hawaii Democratic Party revealed Gates should not have been allowed on the ballot this year because he ran as a Green Party candidate in the last election. The error wasn’t caught in time to challenge his candidacy.

Republican Party chair Fritz Rohlfing told KHON2 News the upset victory gives the GOP an in.

“The Republican candidates did draw a fair number of votes in that area, and that district tends to be lower in turnout, even in the general election, so that is going to be a major focus for us.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery