In America, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
Likewise, everyone is entitled to the exact same social advantages and civil rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities afforded by governmental laws regardless of race, creed, gender, sexual orientation or any other determinant.
With passage of SB1, legalizing same-sex marriage in Hawaii, our state's long and regrettably divisive struggle over marriage equality has been settled through landmark legislation. This new law rectifies past injustices that denied a minority of our population full, legal recognition, all without depriving the majority of a single right they have long enjoyed.
As a just society, our task now is to find common ground and heal by uniting in basic human decency. We must strive to respect every individual's dignity and right to hold their personal beliefs, values, and opinions, no matter how much they differ from our own. Doing so brings out our better angels and makes our community stronger. As goodness begets goodness, we've nothing to fear but our judgments.
Once we drop our judgments, accepting and respecting others despite our differences isn't hard to do. On the contrary, as the Master Counselor instructed, we need simply "love one another," exactly as we are without trying to change anybody. Love is about accepting people and not judging them.
The socially intelligent approach to getting along well with people in this wondrously diverse world is to cultivate a mindset firmly anchored in unconditional positive regard and love. In the end, love is all that really matters anyway.
Michael Ra Bouchard, Ph.D.
Clinical sexologist Hilo, Hawai'i