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Thousands Rally Against Civil Unions in Hawaii

Approximately 2,000 people rallied at Hawaii's state capitol yesterday in opposition to a civil union bill that is making its way through the legislature.

Hawaii "House Bill 444 passed the House earlier this month. The measure is in jeopardy of dying in the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee with potential swing vote Sen. Robert Bunda (D-22nd North Shore, Wahiawa) announcing that he would vote against it. However, state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha) has said she would consider recalling the bill from committee, with agreement from committee chairman state Sen. Brian Taniguchi D-10th (Manoa, McCully), to bring the bill to the full Senate. Protesters said yesterday that they wanted to send Hanabusa and other legislators a clear cautionary message before any such decision is made. 'I think this is awesome,' said former state Rep. Dennis Arakaki, who heads the Hawai'i Family Forum, a nonprofit group that opposes same-sex marriage, civil unions and other legal recognition of same-sex couples. The forum worked with a broad network of local churches to organize the demonstration...Demonstrators clad in bright red filled the first level of the Rotunda and spilled out across the surrounding lawns. Some took up positions around the block, holding signs that read 'No Civil Union,' 'Destroy the Core of 444,' 'We Sed No Already' and 'Turn to Jesus or Burn in Hell.' Most packed tight around a stage set up in the middle of the Rotunda, where leaders from several different faiths exhorted listeners to call their legislators and submit testimony in opposition to the bill."

The bill is expected to be taken up tomorrow by the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee:

"State Sen. Robert Bunda, who was the potential swing vote on the Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee, said he plans to vote against the bill that would give same-sex partners the same rights as married couples under state law. The bill, which passed the House earlier this month, could die in the Senate committee without Bunda's support. But Senate leaders, who favor the bill, may take the rare step of circumventing the committee to bring the bill to the full Senate."

Watch a brief clip of Sunday's protest,an interview with Hawaii state senator Sam Slom who is against the bill, and a short video in favor of Hawaii's civil union bill, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. So disheartening. Was there no counter-protest by the LGBT contingent and its supporters in Hawaii at all?

    Posted by: E. | Feb 23, 2009 7:21:55 PM

  2. Not to worry people. Gay-Americans will soon have civil marriage equality and then we can go to a State like Hawaii and Bitch slap them. It's just a matter of time before we can rub their noses in the shit of discrimination.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 23, 2009 7:22:29 PM

  3. how is my (potential) civil union to my partner going to affect *any* of these people? i don't get it. i am embarrassed that so many people who claim they have the aloha spirit are coming out to support something that is so *against* everything that "aloha" stands for.

    Posted by: chuck | Feb 23, 2009 7:28:09 PM

  4. Don't forget to check out the 263 Bigots in Hawaii that donated to Prop H8!


    Posted by: Mike | Feb 23, 2009 7:32:49 PM

  5. Where is the aloha?

    Posted by: Brian | Feb 23, 2009 7:34:35 PM

  6. Did Hawaii consider how this might affect their tourist-based economy? The west coast is littered with gay folk who travel to the islands on a regular basis. I think the state's tax-payers may start giving a shit about equality if a travel boycott ensues.

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Feb 23, 2009 7:45:36 PM

  7. They need to leave those little children out of their anti-gay protest.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Feb 23, 2009 7:48:25 PM

  8. "About 75 supporters of civil unions rallied today at the state Capitol ahead of tomorrow's Senate vote that would grant same-sex couples in Hawaii that right." (

    They had 2000 opponents yesterday, we had 75 supporters today. Pathetic. If the queer community can't do better than that, than maybe we should just STFU and go back to our respective closets. For a few days after Prop 8 I thought things might really change. Wrong again.

    Posted by: markl | Feb 23, 2009 7:50:03 PM

  9. Write to senator Bunda and othe Hawaiian State Senators.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 23, 2009 8:00:01 PM

  10. These weren't people off the street or called by friends and acquaintances. These were congregations of regular sunday churchgoers transported to the event to make it seem like the bill has more opposition than it actually does. There's a reason it happened yesterday. It's still disgusting...and perhaps if we organized a counter protest on sunday, instead of during the work week...well, 75 is still a pathetic number.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 23, 2009 8:02:00 PM

  11. The LDS (Mormons) owns the Hawaiian political machine and its Senators and congress people. What do you expect?

    Posted by: ggreen | Feb 23, 2009 8:17:23 PM

  12. Tank is right. My Hawai'i contact told me they came directly from two churches right after the Sunday service. He went to a counter protest today but it had about 40 demonstrators. He said he was interviewed by a guy from AP so he may get some press. It's time these churches lost their tax-exempt statuses and were exposed for the political powers they really are.

    Posted by: myDogBen | Feb 23, 2009 8:18:07 PM

  13. We can always hope for a well timed tsunami or volcanic eruption...

    Posted by: JT | Feb 23, 2009 8:33:28 PM

  14. this is very surprising, sad, and pathetic. I'm so disappointed in Hawaii

    Posted by: KFLO | Feb 23, 2009 8:34:59 PM

  15. wow. Sometimes, I forget how much they hate us. And they teach their children this lesson early. Aloha, indeed.

    Posted by: bozemanmontana | Feb 23, 2009 8:50:54 PM

  16. I want to visit Hawaii because I've never been. But I will NEVER take my hard earned dollars to a place of such bigotry. Very disappointing. 2000 people!! How many people make up the population of Hawaii?!

    Keep the hope alive that we will see civil marriage equality at a Federal level.

    Posted by: CJ | Feb 23, 2009 8:59:32 PM

  17. "No need to worry" [posted by Sargon]??!! why isnt there a need to worry? i think harvey milk had the right attitude that there is a need to worry and to stand up and fight NOW. people say our rights will come soon but when? we lost rights in three states in november and potentially one more in hawaii now. isnt there a sense of urgency?! we're moving backwards. why should we sit and wait for the opportune moment for our human rights?

    Posted by: DRN | Feb 23, 2009 9:00:13 PM

  18. Mormons LDS church has owned real estate in Hawaii for 100 years.

    LDS Church owns The Polynesian Cultural Center tourist attraction and the workers are missionaries who don't have to be paid.

    Mix in Mormons with Pacific Islander Christians and you got a melting pot of bigotry.

    I won't be back to Hawaii any time soon

    Posted by: mizarkey | Feb 23, 2009 9:11:51 PM

  19. JT: considering i *live* in hawai'i, i take offense to being wished a tsunami or volcanic eruption, thankyouverymuch.

    Posted by: chuck | Feb 23, 2009 9:15:16 PM

  20. Wow, I guess I've not been paying attention. I had no idea that there was this much hate simmering in HI. Now that I know I will make all my decisions regarding HI (traveling, buying products etc.) based on this. I seriously doubt their island economy can afford travel boycotts (we shall see). Shame.

    Posted by: christopher | Feb 23, 2009 9:15:56 PM

  21. haha -- the spirit of Aloha.


    Posted by: Martha | Feb 23, 2009 9:19:39 PM

  22. I've been to Hawaii many times, and this does not reflect the spirit (aloha or otherwise) of anyone my ex or I interacted with on those trips. Most people there are way less upset about gays having rights than on the mainland. Recall that about 10 years ago Hawaii came close to being the first state to pass same-sex marriage rights. No it didn't pass, but it was still ahead of its time.

    This just seems like a well-organized fringe group telling their sheep followers what to do on a Sunday. I seriously doubt the legislature was even in session on a Sunday, but they couldn't have gotten those numbers another day of the week...

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 23, 2009 9:36:37 PM

  23. PEOPLE you need some historical perspective here. WAY WAY back in the ancient past the challenge to civil marriage being the special right of str8 people was FIRST brought up in Hawaii. The Hawaii S.C. said civil marriage equality was a thing ALL Hawaii citizens should enjoy.

    But guess what Radical Religious group put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to overturn what the S.C. of Hawaii said? You guessed it the MORMON CHURCH.

    Don't get angry at the people of Hawaii per se, get angry at the Mormon Church and other Radical Religious Extremists.

    I'm going to suggest something that will take courage, some of you have it, others don't but if you want to win the battle you gotta have the balls. If you go to Hawaii and shop at a store, ask the store clerk if the store is Mormon owned or run. If it is don't buy there if you feel strongly about it. If the car rental place is Mormon owned or operated don't rent a car from them if you feel strongly enough about it. Do that for your entire stay in Hawaii. They are HAPPY to take our money, are you happy to give it to them?

    Wear a WHITE KNOT ribbon to show your support for Civil Marriage Equality.

    It's not enough to stamp your feet and pout! Get Active.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 23, 2009 9:37:12 PM

  24. DRN - worry does NOTHING sweet heart cept bring on ulcers. Harvey Milk got active. Are you active? I think you must be. Please quote correctly in the future. All is forgiven.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Feb 23, 2009 9:40:32 PM

  25. OK, I've had it. This is getting fricken' ridiculous with all this religious crap. Hello... aren't we suppose to have separation of church and state? Obviously not... Gay people need to just start boycotting states that blatantly discriminate and start spending our tourist $$$ big time on those states who are gay friendly. California and Massachusetts come to the front of the line. Utah top of the boycott, with Aloha-ville #2. I'm done... stick a fork in me!

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 23, 2009 9:57:11 PM

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