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...

Posted February 23, 2009 at 6:58pm ETC by Andy Towle
in gay marriage, Hawaii, News