I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hiding under my desk since Halloween night. Usually, the evening passes uneventfully for me each year, with minimal frights and few true scares. But this year was different.
That’s what I get for monitoring the state House of Representatives Special Session hearing on SB1, the bill that would finally legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The bill sailed through the state Senate with just four of the body’s 25 senators voting no, but in the House, things have been a bit different.
More than 5,000 people signed up to testify on the bill in the House. Now all reporters who cover public hearings are prepared for a crazy or two–sometimes, people rambling on and on provide for an interesting distraction from on otherwise boring meeting.
This was different. Here, a disturbing large number of testifiers used their two minutes before the House Judiciary and Finance Committees to mindlessly repeat dogma, ignorance and/or science fiction-scale predictions of apocalypse should SD1 pass. In fact, it seems a miracle that the bill finally passed out of the House committees on Nov. 5 (no thanks to Democratic Representatives Mele Carroll and Justin Woodson of Maui, who voted no).
Anyway, here are three brief excerpts taken from just the written testimonies submitted during the last days of October:
• “This issue is not a decision to make, God already declared that He made man and woman so that we will multiply and live a fruitful life.”
• “If you allow this bill to pass you and your cohorts are committing treason against the people of Hawaii.”
• “[W]e are setting a precedent in government imposing their moral consciences upon all and we are headed towards a future that our people will be controlled by the government without the freedom and liberty to live out their moral consciences according to the Constitution.”
Then there was this winner said during the Nov. 2 hearing (and subsequently Tweeted by Honolulu Magazine Digital Manager Christine Hitt, who was watching the hearing live: “If you pass this bill, it will be Hawaii’s 9/11.”
Is it any wonder that State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) boss Tenari Maalfala told the House committees on Nov. 4 that he’d refuse to enforce SB1 if it becomes law? Of course it’s nonsense–police don’t enforce marriage laws of any kind–but now we have the state’s top police union official telling rank-and-file cops that it’s fine for them to pick and choose what laws they’ll enforce–just like paramilitary gangs in some Banana Republic.
What’s really scary is that people still consider Hawaii “The Aloha State.”
Photo of Hawaii House of Representatives: Kerry Gershaneck/Wikimedia Commons