Council resolution seeks equality for all

LIHUE — The Kauai County Council took a stance against discrimination Wednesday by passing an amended resolution.

“Discrimination is a fear of scarcity and we need to move toward equality and abundance for all,” said Councilman Mason Chock after three hours of discussion and amendments to the resolution.

The Kauai Women’s Caucus and the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women supported the resolution supporting the principles of the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

“Our group is looking for justice for all,” said Laurel Brier, president of Kauai Women’s Caucus.

The gathering of about 40 people opened with an amended resolution, not yet seen, that came from the County Attorney’s office at the recommendation of Councilman Ross Kagawa.

He cited concerns about overcommitting the county to take on federal and state responsibilities as the main reason for running the resolution through the County Attorney’s office.

After hard copies of the amended resolution were distributed, County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask talked about the amendments while the council went on to other business.

The issue was stemmed from the difference between an ordinance and a resolution, he explained — an ordinance directs action, a resolution provides moral and ethical support of existing laws.

“This is a policy statement and it has to be drafted that way,” Trask said.

The approved resolution’s language now reflects an intention to use and enforce the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, without actually joining.

“I’m disappointed you don’t want to join the Convention,” said Margie Maupin during public comments.

Patricia Wistinghausen, vice president of Kauai Women’s Caucus, was also disappointed but she said the resolution should be passed as another step toward equality for all.

And that equality shouldn’t just be within the workplace arena, said Alexandra Williams.

“We’ve got just one woman on the council, for example,” she said. “Women are half the population, we’d like to see that reflected in our lawmaking bodies.”

Leaders with Kauai Women’s Caucus and the Commission on the Status of Women are looking toward drafting an ordinance that further supports enforcement for discrimination.

“I think this resolution can be transformed in to real action,” Brier said.

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