Opinion: Same-sex marriage process ignores voice of the people

| November 13, 2013 | 6 Comments

By Steve Morgan

On Oct. 29, thousands of people rallied at the state capitol in protest to SB1, Relating to Equal Rights, also known as the Hawaii same-sex marriage bill. Possibly one of the largest rallies ever held at the capitol, this event was followed by five days of testimony with a final tally showing that 87 percent of those who testified in person opposed same-sex marriage. Of the published 10,749 letters of written testimony, approximately 80 percent were in opposition to the bill.

Longtime Molokai resident Steve Morgan

Longtime Molokai resident Steve Morgan

Several residents from Molokai testified in opposition including OHA Chair Colette Machado who went on record stating that she felt that the bill was flawed and the process rushed.

Also in opposition was Molokai and Lanai Rep. Mele Carroll who had been personally threatened by members of the LGBT community. Carroll stated that she felt that the process was not transparent, amounting to a government betrayal of the people. “Let the people vote” became the familiar chant within the capitol, which in the end had little impact on the final decision.

As a result of the events of the past week, two alterations did take place within the construction of the bill: 1. The parental clause was eliminated, which could have interfered with Native Hawaiian recognition, 2. Increased accommodations for religious institutions.

Despite the changes, the bill failed to acknowledge the religious rights of private business owners. Several testifiers voiced their concerns, citing a court decision in April 2013 in which Phyllis Young, owner of Aloha Bed and Breakfast on Oahu, was found guilty and not being in compliance with state law when she refused to rent out the bedroom in her home to a lesbian couple. Mrs. Young stated that her religious convictions did not allow her to rent to either homosexual couples or unmarried couples. The choice given to Mrs. Young was clear, shut down her business or compromise her religious values.

Another concern repetitively heard was in regard to same-sex curriculum within our schools. Although no educational provisions exist within the same-sex marriage bill, many who testified were clearly concerned that the “normalization” of same-sex marriage would find its way into the classroom. Questions were also raised in regard to other bills that might follow.

Out of the 15 states that have allowed for same-sex marriage, four states have mandatory “same-sex friendly” school curriculum with two more states in the developmental process. A California bill making LGBT recognition in school curriculum mandatory was introduced by gay activist and senator Mark Leno.

More alarming was a follow-up bill spearheaded by Leno nicknamed the “transgender bathroom law.” The bill, AB1266, requires that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school activities, and be able to use facilities (bathrooms, showers, locker rooms) consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records. In clear language, this law states that if a guy feels like he is a girl, that guy now has legal access to use the girls bathrooms, showers and locker rooms at all California public schools. These and other bills passed in the wake of same-sex marriage have clearly caused alarm.

In the words of one testifier, “So what’s next? Bisexual marriage, polygamy or incestuous marriage? Thirty years ago same-sex marriage was unimaginable … As they say, it’s all about love and equality!”

Category: opinion

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  1. sam monet says:

    Hi Steve, Kudos for taking your time to go to Oahu and testify; clearly your opposition is sincere and perhaps misguided a little. That is OK too. I believe that many of us who support equal rights began with anti war and anti jim crow black civil rights in the 60’s and still have those liberal social mores today. As we get older, old habits hang on, yours and ours.

    Many of us did not take the time to lobby the Legislature because it appeared, with the high court opinion and other compelling reasons for passage of a bill, that our voices need not be heard. They do not listen any way, to you or to me.

    Best to deal with more compelling issues that will affect you, your family and your neighbors more than who is living next door and what their marital status is. Global warming will do more to affect all of us here in Hawaii Nei than any gay person trying to go to your church, go to your kids PTA meeting, or heaven forbid, a member of your family coming out.

    • Steve,

      Let us all be individually judged by God, not by each other.

      Same sex marriage is between two people who love each other so much that they want to commit the rest of their lives to each other.

      This new state law will not magically create more gay people; instead it will give gays the legal rights they need and deserve to live in today’s society with the same equality you and I enjoy.

      Finally, it is incredibly offensive and narrow minded to draw a link or refer to others who have drawn a link between incest/ beastiality/pedophilia/polygamy and other illegal behaviours and same sex marriage. By employing this tactic you undercut your own credibility and frankly, you look like a fool.

      Sam is right – God forbid someone in your family is gay and they haven’t come out of the closet yet. Your public diatribe is the type that has driven others to depression and suicide. I encourage you to open your heart and mind and try to meet people without pre-judging them based on their sexual orientation or desire to marry their same sex partner.

      Of course, if you want to continue to fight the issue and protest, it’s your prerogative and you’re free to do so. But in all honesty, you should at least acknowledge the divisive impact your actions will have on Molokai.

      This island is too small and still too wounded for such unnecessary divisiveness, don’t you think?

      • Steve Morgan says:

        Aloha Kalae neighbor,

        I certainly don’t remember bringing up beastiality. Relations between consenting adults is the only possibility to be considered. In actuality, polygamy as a form of marriage holds greater historical standing and unlike homosexuality, which the American Psychiatric Association has determined as a form of identity and unable to conclusively determine of genetic origin, in contrast the tendency of males to be polygamous is genetic. It is only because of our moral outlook that we discriminate against those choosing a polygamous model of marriage. Again, it wasn’t that long ago that the idea of same sex marriage seemed ridiculous and out of the question. In regard to the growing Muslim community in the U.S., polygamy it is hardly unimaginable.

        In regard to how I would treat anyone of the LGBT community, I would treat them as I always have, with the respect and dignity due to any person. My issue is entirely related to changing the definition of marriage not the quality of a person. And for the record, I already have family and close friends who are gay and who I love and care about regardless.

        Also, Something that was brought to my attention that I need to acknowledge is that I do believe that gender confusion it is a valid medical condition and deserves sympathy and treatment if possible. The bill AB 1266 however offers no real solutions and is poorly conceived. It is also not clear  in making a distinction between a medical condition from that of a season of teenage experimentation.

        • sam monet says:

          You folks are soooo lucky to live on Molokai not Oahu. This island is a physical, social, financial and environmental nightmare. When you sent the tour boats packing, and shut down Molokai Ranch’s sales program, the business and tourist know it alls on Oahu predicted economic and social collapse on Molokai. They are eating crow.

          Over population, conflict, greed and resource degradation has been the bane of civilization. A world of 7-10 billion people all consuming as much as possible, will make overpopulated islands reliant on foreign income collapse under their own weight.

          Think more about ways to bring your friends and neighbors together and enjoy what you are so lucky to have.

          Oahu Resident who just loves to go where there is no stop lights, no high rise building and lots of opihi on the rocks.

  2. steve says:

    voter turnout in HI is lowest in the nation, is it not?

    headline is incorrect as those put into office by those who voted made the decision and will be up for re-election at some point.

    that’s about the lone time “voice of the people” matters.

  3. Haole Da Mushman says:

    I just don’t get what you are so scared of Stephen.

    All this bill is going to do is give people equal access to things that most people have access too already.

    In terms of business owners, they can stay out of trouble, like the B+B owners you used as an example. All they have to do is put out signs and put on their facebook that they “Hate Fags” or whatever other epithets they care to use. Guaranteed no gay couples will patronize that. All they have to do is clarify their hate, easy peezy mo bettah mo breezy.

    Ask for what you want in this life and that ESPECIALLY goes for businesses. There were plenty that shunned the Japanese and German Americans during WW2, and let’s not even get started on the racial stuff.

    They may not legally be able to say no, but if they proportionally display their hate with signage as described above, they will not have to worry about the “gay marriage problem.”

    America is an awesome place.

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