Gay Hawaii Lawmaker Jo Jordan, Who Voted ‘NO’ to Marriage Equality in Final Vote, Explains Herself

On Thursday, we reported on Hawaii Rep. Jo Jordan, a lesbian, who made a "no" vote on the marriage equality bill. Jordan voted "NO" again last night at the bill's third and final reading.

JordanAccording to the Victory Fund, Jordan is the first openly gay lawmaker to ever vote "no" on a marriage equality bill.

Think Progress notes:

Jordan had reservations about the bill before Hawaii’s special session even began. Last week, she explained that she was undecided, because even though 75 percent of her constituents support marriage equality, she felt she had to represent the entire state. She seemed to be unaware that statewide polling showed a 55 percent majority support marriage equality.

The Supreme Court’s decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) did little to convince Jordan that the state’s civil unions would no longer suffice: “Has anybody been denied before DOMA or after DOMA — what has changed in our state? These are questions that I still have to settle in myself and that’s why I’m undecided.”

Before the vote, Jordan explained herself in a long post at Honolulu magazine.

Writes Jordan, in part:

I’m choosing not to look at the news, but I hear I’m being blasted pretty bad.

As soon as I got off the floor, probably within the first half hour… (makes explosion noises) I want to have faith that it’s the Mainland and it’s not here. I’m like, "You don’t know who I am, No. 1, because obviously you weren’t in those hearings."

I totally thought I was going to get blasted by the religious community. When I walked into the hearings, I was like, those faith-based guys are going to come out. And not one of them said anything. They were more about, "Thank you, thank you for listening." And they didn’t know who I was. Outside, I was Rep. Jordan sitting at the table. They had no idea who I was, or my lifestyle, and that’s why I like it. Can we get to know each other before you know the rest of the stuff?

I was blasted by the GLBT community on Saturday, outside the door. That took me aback. At the time, I hadn’t stated my position, and I was still undecided. These were testifiers the day before, saying, “How can you be undecided? You should be a 'yes.' Do you know what this means?” And I politely engaged with them: "I have some problems with SB1." I explained the issues and they slammed me again. “It’s good. Just vote yes.” They started getting boisterous. My natural instinct is, I’m going to fly some words at you. But you can’t, so I’m like, "Thank you."

It has been interesting. I am not part of any faith-based group, so I walked in thinking those were going to be the ones going, grrrr, grrrr. But unfortunately, it’s been coming from my community during the hearing. I was like, “Wow, so much for minorities that have been suppressed.” But I’ve got to look at it this way: Maybe they feel they’ve been suppressed for so long that they no longer can contain it and they are just going to lash out at anything without thinking first. But I have to keep that faith to help me not take it personally. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about, are we creating a measure that meets the needs of all?

Now that marriage equality looks almost assured to become law in Hawaii, Jordan will have to live with the fact that she voted against rights for herself and the LGBT community.


  1. woody says

    Wow. It’s all about her. The gays were pressing her too hard and made her feel bad and that opened her up to the kind-hearted Christians (who, as we saw in the hearings, weren’t pressuring the delegates at all…).

  2. Randy says

    So she has no clue as to why she voted against it, even though the majority of Hawaiins, and the ones she represents, support marriage equility. She didnt listen to any of the hate from the Christians and basically got mad that the gay community didn’t just accept her decision to vote no. And now she is blaming the gay community for forcing her into a no vote, even though that’s what she expected to do all along!

    People — the lesson is just because you are a gay or lesbian politician does NOT mean you have any brains. I hope everyone votes her out, and I do not expect to see her presence at any gay event ever.

  3. brian1 says

    Her “explanation” makes absolutely no sense. But I think if you read between the lines here, she seems to have voted exclusively based on how well people treated her. The anti marriage folks sucked up to Her Highness, while the gay lobby had the effrontery to make demands. So she basically agreed with gay marriage, her district agreed with gay marriage, and her state did, but she got pissed off at some uppity gay lobbyist and decided to screw the cause to placate her offended ego.

  4. Mike C. says

    Bizarre. If she has an argument, she doesn’t present it. I doubt religious orgs or NOM have been courting her when there are better legislators for them to target. I can’t believe any magazine actually published a piece like that. Clearly she has no one editing her.

  5. tony says

    What a horrible person. Fairness, equality – they don’t mean anything to her? She likes bigots running and ruining the lives of others?

    (1859 :

    I hate slavery. I live in a slave state. Let me see what slaveholders have to say on the issue…Oh, btw I’m a slave.)

    What a butch derphead.

  6. Reality says

    She is so wrong. The LGBT community looks out for each other because we are a minority constantly attacked. She went against us and that’s why people are upset. You don’t vote against equality for your own people. As the Victory Fund stated, she is the first gay politician to EVER vote for marriage discrimination.

  7. john patrick says

    Andy, your comment says it all: “Now that marriage equality looks almost assured to become law in Hawaii, Jordan will have to live with the fact that she voted against rights for herself and the LGBT community.”

  8. Leroy Laflamme says

    ‘It’s not about who is right, & who is wrong…’ Whattt? She’s just plain irresponsible & has no business ‘representing’ anyone. Had a chuckle at HUNTER’s comment, ‘Look at it this way — now she’s famous.’ I can’t resist wanting to top that with, ‘Now she’s infamous.’

  9. Darrell says

    She is horrendously inarticulate and completely missed why the right wasn’t angry at her…she was on their side! Hopefully they can unseat her in the next election.

  10. Jack Ford says

    How did this woman get elected? She frankly sounds like an idiot 12 year old schoolboy. “then they were like BOOM! And I was like woooah…” STFU, you numskull. I don’t even think she knows what elected REPRESENTATIVE means. Ugh…

  11. Rich says

    This woman is a clueless idiot.
    First she refers to her “lifestyle” not sexual orientation, then she wonders why the LGBT community reacts badly? She played right into the hands of the haters, and somehow seems to think that betraying her own people is OK. She deserves to lose in the next election, although NOM will probably send a lot of contributions her way. What a fool.

  12. Matt27 says

    Her effort to make her decision logical is blah blah blah. You made your choice, now you have to live with it. Prepare to loose lots of votes in next election.

  13. mickey says

    So after almost twenty years of fighting all it takes is almost 60 hours of mindless garbage and lies to vote against not only herself, the majority of her constitutes but also her community?
    Poor diluted fool thinks her new “christian” friends “love” now? Lmfao!

  14. Mike in Texas says

    It’s no secret that the Mormons and Catholics have been making an effort to put a kinder gentler face on their bigotry. It’s an old method long used by abusers to entice their victims to return. She was uninformed and gullible enough to think they were being nice to her. I wonder if she’ll still be thinking they are “nice” a few months down the road.

  15. Mark says

    For those who watched her performance during the hearings, these comments are wholly typical–she came across as not too bright. She didn’t seem to understand that Hawaii already has a public accommodations law (she seemed to think that this bill would force hotels, restaurants, etc. owned by anti-gay owners to serve gay couples), and she didn’t seem to understand how the DOMA decision meant no federal rights to civil unions but not marriages.

  16. rroberts says

    How puzzling! I’d like to think Ms Jordan could actually defend her vote, but she failed miserably and to her ultimate detriment.

    @GayBlackJewishGoy : you wrote “Do Not Elect Anyone over 40! People under the influence of the 20th century are weirdos when it comes to logic.”

    That’s about as logical as Ms Jordan! It’s also hateful and ignorant. There are a LOT of us over 40 (and beyond) who happen to be very intelligent, who are up on current events, and who are in fact very logical by any 21st century standards.

  17. BillinSonoma says

    @James H: you beat me to it. The fact that she used the word lifestyle just displays her ignorance, and makes her equal to any other bigot walking the planet.

  18. andy says

    So I’m like “this Uncle Tom is really stupid” and she’s all like “you don’t know me”. So I was like, “I know you enough”.

    This is who represents us?! People who can’t even write for a publication in proper English? She sounds like a valley girl from the 80s!

  19. says

    I watched her last night. She is an idiot and she is mad at some of the Democratic leadership so she has decided to align with the anti-gay Democrats, perhaps hoping they will someday reward her with a position.

  20. candideinnc says

    I used this quote in another context, but it applies just as well here: She has sufficient intelligence to open her mouth to eat, but that is about the extent of it.

  21. jjose712 says

    OH the humanity. She is obviusly not very smart, but that was simply too much.

    She didn’t seem to hear the same hateful speeches from the the ones who wanted her to vote no (but the rest of the world was able to hear it).
    She is the worst example of traitor.
    Yesterday i red an article about Sam Arora who changed his vote without aparent reason when he received a lot of donations from gay marriage supporters.
    But in the worst case, Arora is a closet case (he married a woman) who betray his convictions or lied about them through the years, and wasn’t smart enough that he ended all by himself his political career.

    But this woman is an openly lesbian, and she voted against his own rights, against what his constituents wanted and against what most Hawaiians wanted, and she is unable to articulate the reasons.
    I don’t know if she is the worst case of uncle tom or she is simply that stupid

  22. GregV says

    She was not elected. She was apointed by Gov. Abercrombie (who may well now be regretting that decision) when a seat was vacated.

    She clearly lacks the priciples to stand up for laws that treat everyone in a fair and equally kind way and was trying in vain to figure out what she could do to make the popular kids like her.
    I hope this seals her fate to never be put up for an actual future election. The VAST majority of Democrat voters are at odds her vote against equality, and a Republican governor never would have opened the door to a gay woman in the first place.

  23. Todd says

    Madam Representative,
    You are correct, it is not about who is right or who is wrong. It is about letting an often religiously biased majority vote on how a minority quadrant of the society she took a vow to serve gets treated with equality to the majority. Saying “No” is saying you felt that not all the people who voted for you as well as maybe those who didn’t aren’t equal to all who you serve in your eyes. The fact that you feel you should allow the majority to decide even for you how marriage is recognized seems ludicrous from the standpoint that it shows you yourself feel you should not equate to the majority you serve. Quite sad.

  24. Craig Nelson says

    I would genuinely like to understand her reasoning, genuinely. Presumably there is a reason, she just isn’t sharing it. Some people do hold a feminist belief they are against marriage per se and of course some LGBT people (a minority to be sure) do hold this view.

    They are fully entitled to their view and should, if they hold this view, articulate this view. Yes they’ll come under criticism for it but at least they can articulate what has led them from A to B.

    A lot of the anger here is that she is incapable of enunciating any principles or structure of thought that accounts for the decision. For that reason, in my view, she is not fit for ‘prime time’ of public office because she can’t articulate what she thinks and why she votes in any given way.

    If you cannot expound your thought you are not going to get anyone else to share it because, as here, there’s a barely coherent stream of words which won’t convince anyone about anything.

    Good luck to her getting elected next time. She may of course get elected but one shouldn’t expect any help from any LGBT people along the way whom she has seen fit to trample under foot with her vote.

  25. wheelie81 says

    Wow, she’s gay so let’s just automatically assume that she is going to support gay marriage….perfect example of what is wrong with this world and particularly the LGBT community….dissent and free thinking aren’t allowed.

  26. jjose712 says

    Ankerich; but this is not about gay men, it’s about gay men and women. If you are going to trolling at least make an effort, because that was as stupid as her nonsense

  27. dumbnhung says

    even if she was correct and the majority of Hawaii’s citizens were against equal rights on the issue of marriage, she’d still be wrong for siding with that majority. As a member of an oppressed minority she should be more aware of how wrong that would be than anyone else. Just like those that volunteered to shovel the corpses into the giant ovens in the concentration camps to avoid a similar fate themselves (not that that strategy worked for them either…)

  28. Michael says

    She should be ashamed of herself. Of course, anti-gay “Christians” “love” her when she stabs her own people in the back! This is not love, this is driving a wedge between gay taxpayers, just as NOM does with Blacks/Gays, and as long as this Benedict Arnold does that, these “Christians” will continue to embrace her. I hope the amoral act she committed as a Rep. will haunt her in her sleep for the rest of her life.

  29. Steve says

    Oh and the anti-gay groups like NOM and the fanatical Christian mob in Hawaii are now singing her praises. And she thinks she has new friends who love her. In reality, the only thin the Christians love is that they could use her. They still despise her and wouldn’t show her and her poor girlfriend any respect.

  30. John says

    I’m afraid that if I tried to wrap my head around her non-logic, I’d be just as dumb as her. This is not someone who should be in politics. She needs to get out of the sun and put a thought in her head other than “Durrrrr.”

  31. Lushlife says

    I am so glad a few of you understood what she said. Among the ‘likes’ and the ‘totallys’ and all the butt hurts and bad feelings, I couldn’t understand much of what she was trying to communicate. I am sitting here trying to understand how this is writing? It sounds like she dictated it to a chimp and let him type it up. How the hell did she get elected? She seems barely able to manage her way through a simple sentence. At some point we should probably start doing some QC on the GLBT candidates we choose to support. She sounds crazier than the kooks.

  32. says

    It’s hard to imagine, given this explanation of her vote, that she is able to understand basic legislation. If she cannot understand why CUs are not equal to marriage post-SCOTUS decision she is mentally deficient and seriously incapable of being a representative. The only proper excuse for her behavior is dementia.

  33. Joseph Singer says

    “It has been interesting. I am not part of any faith-based group, so I walked in thinking those were going to be the ones going, grrrr, grrrr. But unfortunately, it’s been coming from my community during the hearing.”

    Well, duh. I’m not sure why you think your “community” would be happy with you. Consider this the end of your political career.

  34. jjose712 says

    wheelie81 : She is gay, so she is supposed to think he is not a second class citizen and want to have the same rights the rest of the population.
    No matter if she wants to marry or not.
    Your reasoning is as absurd as her vote

  35. daws says

    Awww! Poor Jo Jordan. Poor her.

    Somebody didn’t get scissored before the vote. She kiss her political career goodbye. Pretty terrible distinction to have in the history books. Dumbass.

  36. Patrick says

    I disagree with her reasoning and her conclusion. However, the Towleroad article is a bit misleading by what it clipped from the original article. She is arguing that the law itself needed tweaking to withstand court scrutiny (although she is probably wrong).

  37. Ninong says

    Georgette “Jo” Jordan is the current Democratic representative of the 44th House District of the Hawaii House of Representatives, but apparently Ms Jordon does not understand what it means to represent a district in a House of Representatives.

    Ms Jordan betrayed the interests of the 75% of her constituents, who, according to her, support marriage equality because she felt she had a obligation to represent the entire state, which actually supports marriage equality. Ms Jordan not only doesn’t understand the duties of a district representative, she doesn’t even understant the position of the majority of the citizens of her state on the issue of marriage equality.

    Either that or she’s just plain lying her ass off to hide the real reason she has consistently opposed marriage equality.

  38. Buster says


    Personally, I am often more angered by Democrats who lobby and vote against us than by the expected Republican anti-gay voting. If you are considering contributing to JO JORDAN’s future primary opponent, I would also point you toward taking a similar approach to her colleague SHARON HAR (The DEMOCRAT majority whip in the Hawaii house) who was a major voice of nonsense and anti-equal marriage blather during yesterday’s hearing when she rose frequently to support the idiotic delaying amendments that the equal marriage opponents vomited out to keep the session going pointlessly into the night. A sample of her invective is the claim that passage of equal marriage “would turn Hawaii … arguably into a totalitarian state.”

    The next Hawaii House primary election is next August 9, 2014 and the candidates must file before the beginning of June, 2014. So these elections, if you are interested, are coming up pretty quickly. Candidates can accept up to 30% of their contributions from out of state donors.

    Also, want to remind you of the selfless actions of Rep. Naomi Jakobsson in Illinois, who left the bedside of her terminally ill son to go to Springfield to vote FOR equal marriage. He died later that night. Rep. Jakobsson is up for reelection in 2014 as well.

  39. Paul says

    The fact that she voted against the wishes of those who voted her into office, and against the majority of the people in her state, says a lot. The height of hypocrisy will be the day she either attends a wedding, or seeks to have one herself. Just one more person on the wrong side of history.

  40. Mark says


    But her claim “that the law itself needed tweaking to withstand court scrutiny” was non-sensical. By that line of reasoning, every ssm law in the country would be overturned by the court, since (to the extent any argument from her was apparent) she was claiming that the religious “exemptions” were so weak as to violate the 1st amendment. Since Hawaii’s exemptions were broader than any state’s except maybe Connecticut, by the Jordan argument Mass., and Maine, and California’s laws all should have been struck down. Why weren’t they? Jordan didn’t even address the matter. It wasn’t even clear that she knew there were other states that allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry. She certainly didn’t know what those states’ laws looked like.

  41. rjp3 says

    Wow, she’s gay so let’s just automatically assume that she is going to support gay marriage….perfect example of what is wrong with this world and particularly the LGBT community….dissent and free thinking aren’t allowed.

    Posted by: wheelie81


    You are FREE as a gay or straight person to withhold civil equality based on sexuality — BUT YOU ARE NOT FREE TO GET BLASTED AND DEMONIZED in return.

  42. northalabama says


    you read my mind. sure, if she had a legitimate reason for her vote, like deeply held convictions, i could understand her argument see her decision as rational, even if i disagreed.

    but to vote no because someone was mean to her – no other explanation, when she’s gay? time to start following the money trail, i don’t buy it for a second, but have a feeling someone else did.

  43. Lars says

    On Thursday morning, between 2nd and 3rd readings, I wrote her a very respectful and considerate email, basically imploring her to think of the gay and lesbian families of Hawaii. In the most kind and gentle terms I told her that it was not too late to stand on the side of love and fairness.

    But of course, her mind was made up. And working backwards, she crafted up a narrative of mean gays and loving Christians in order to justify her tortured position. She was impenetrable to reason. And so resolute in her position was she, that she could not even acknowledge the sincerity of the countless LGBT people who cried out to her for justice.

    I thank God (literally) that SB1 passed despite her obstruction. Now it is time for us to ensure that she leaves public office. Let her go off with her new friends — I don’t care, so long as she no longer holds a position of public trust, in which she denies equal protection under law for her brothers and sisters. She made her bad, and now she can sleep in it.

    Oh, and who wants to take wagers on whether her new religious friends will help her discover a path that delivers her from the ‘gay lifestyle’?

  44. nacinla says

    Jordan has sealed her legacy as a dim bulb. Any gay person who uses the language of the haters (“my lifestyle”) is a lost cause. I’d rather have a heterosexual politician who understands, and fights for, the dignity of every human being than a gay one who doesn’t have a clue what that means. Let’s hope the people of Hawaii are smarter the next time they go to the polls.

  45. bbock says

    Do I understand her ramble correctly that she thinks that if gays and lesbians marry, they should be required to have domicile (be residents of) in Hawaii first? Last I checked, Hawaii is a magnet for destination weddings. People who live elsewhere fly there to get married. I’m unclear why, if gays can get married that their marriages should be treated differently.

  46. ro says

    After listening to her on Wednesday and then again on Friday I get the distinct impression that she neither read the bill nor checked the polls. Chances are she asked someone else about it. Probably a biblethumper who loaded her up on false information.
    Let it be known, if you’re going to hold office, know what your people want (55%), do your own homework, and check both sides of the story. She probably went to Har to ask her questions. Bad rep, bad.

  47. Eugene says

    Time to revoke her homo passport! Are you kidding me? Why is she in politics if she cannot even represent her community. She certainly has drunk the cool-aid.

  48. Steve says

    Several of the politicians “argued” that marriage equality would lead to LESS tourism because “traditional” people from Asia wouldn’t visit anymore.

  49. Bill says

    “It’s about, are we creating a measure that meets the needs of all?”
    Is this woman insane? She makes as much sense as Reverend Sharpton voting for slavery. God, what a complete loser.

  50. Bill says

    “It’s about, are we creating a measure that meets the needs of all?”
    Is this woman insane? She makes as much sense as Reverend Sharpton voting for slavery. God, what a complete loser.

  51. Lars says

    The more I think about Rep Jordan, the more upset I’m becoming. It is bad enough that she voted against equal protection under the law. That in itself should completely disqualify her from holding public office.

    But what is really working me up, is that she would have the NERVE to blame gay folks for her unconscionable position. In essence, she is telling us that it’s our fault that she voted against for us (and her). We were “mean,” so we don’t deserve equality. Not only is this insane reasoning — it’s also not true. Countless numbers of us cried out to her for justice. We pleaded, we begged, and we did so in the most polite and respectful terms. But she did not care, as she had already closed off her heart to us.

    May she pay dearly not only for her vote, but also for the way she is lying about us and maligning the LGBT folks who pleaded with her for justice and mercy.

  52. crbmex says

    There’s nothing positive to say about this pathetic excuse for a lesbian. There’s the gay gene and there’s a gene for intelligence–they both don’t always appear together.
    I hope we can depend on our gay brothers and sisters in Hawaii to politically deal with this idiot.

  53. says

    The self hatred is so pervasive that we sometimes forget that not all of us in our community learn to live with freedom, love, or courage. This women deserves the opposite of the awards given to legislators called Profiles in Courage. Remember there were Jews that sent Jews to their death in the holocaust. There were blacks who perpetuated crimes in slavery. And there are gay and lesbians who prefer the status quo and the current death and disease rates our community suffers from. She is a traitor. Plane, simple and very very sad.

  54. Luke says

    At first, I thought maybe her constituents are against gay marriage but they aren’t. Then I thought maybe the wording of the bill is what keeps her from voting for it, but it isn’t. Why the hell wouldn’t she vote for it? I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt but I can’t find a reason to.

  55. Luke says

    Jo Jordan is not the first openly homosexual elected member to have voted against same sex marriage rights = the New Zealand member of parliament ( congress ) M Finlayson , an openly homosexual catholic voted against the N.Z. marriage for all law that was passed there 4 months ago . I do know that for many in the U.S.A. things that happen outside the U.S. do not seem to count , but facts are facts and this Jo person is in fact 2nd and not 1st to vote against there own community .

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