Which states will come up next in bringing marriage equality?
New Jersey - check
Hawaii - nearly done
Illinois - coming up?
Opponents of Same Sex Marriage Overwhelm the Capitol, but Bill Easily Passes Senate Judiciary Committee
As many as 12,000 people on three islands turned out Monday, October 28, at a 5-hour rally to protest Senate Bill 1, a bill that would legalize same sex marriage in Hawaii.
Coordinated by Christian churches and family advocacy groups, the rallies were timed with the opening day of the special legislative session called by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to pass a same sex marriage bill before the end of the year.
“We estimate that 10,000 people were at the capitol yesterday to oppose Senate action,” said Jim Hochberg, president of Hawaii Family Advocates, noting rallies were also held on Maui and the Big Island, in Hilo and Kona. “That means that potentially 10,000 to 12,000 residents of Hawaii took time out of their busy schedules to show the legislature that they understand that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.”
The massive crowd chanted and waved signs that said “Let the people decide,” demanding legislators allow a public vote on the issue, and a number of religious and political leaders spoke at the event held in the capitol rotunda.
Leading up to the opening of what could be a two week special session, opponents and proponents of the bill submitted thousands of pieces of testimony in – more than 3,459 in the last few days – shutting down the email and fax lines at the capitol.The early testimony count was running about 40 percent in support of legalization, and 60 percent in opposition, according to Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee Chair Clayton Hee.
Hee oversaw the only committee hearing in the state Senate on Monday, which lasted 12 hours, before his committee voted 5-2 to pass the bill out to the full Senate for a vote of the entire body on Thursday.
Gov. Abercrombie, Attorney General David Loui, and wife of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, Linda Schatz, testified in favor of SB 1, while more than 400 others testified on both sides of the issue.
Senators Brickwood Galuteria, Malama Solomon and Les Ihara joined Chair Hee and his co-chair Maile Shimabukuro, to support the same sex marriage, while Senators Mike Gabbard and Sam Slom voted in opposition.
The bill will go before the full Senate on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., where it is expected to pass with little opposition, and cross over to the House.
The House begins its first hearing on Senate Bill 1 at 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 31, Halloween.In the 51-member House, the vote should be much closer. Abercrombie maintains he has 27 votes, or one more than he needs.
Should the bill pass the House Judiciary and Finance committees, and then pass the full House without any changes to the Senate version, the bill would go to the governor for his signature within a matter of days.
Hawaii already has a reciprocal beneficiaries law and a civil unions law.
Proponents, who have held rallies of their own, albeit considerably smaller ones, argue same sex marriage is a civil rights issue and benefits them financially.
Opponents argue against the bill on moral and legal grounds. They cite a public vote during the 1998 election on a constitutional amendment that showed residents were overwhelmingly opposed to same sex marriage and want to keep marriage between one man and one woman.
Proponents note, however, that the same amendment ultimately gave power to the legislature to define marriage.
Church leaders from more than 100 organizations have also expressed concerns about SB 1, saying it will impact their religious freedoms and give same sex marriage proponents a legal avenue to bring lawsuits against them.
Meanwhile, leaders of 50 other Hawaii religious organizations have supported the same sex marriage legislation.
Illinois needs to get off its ass and get this done.
REPORT FROM THE HOUSE MINORITY - HONOLULU – As Senate Bill 1 moves to a second vote by the full House today, House Republicans released an internal count showing overwhelming public opposition to SB 1 and urged colleagues to listen to the voice of the people. Of the written testimony published by the joint House Committee, 80 percent of testifiers opposed the bill, as did 87 percent of oral testimony.
“Again and again in the public hearing, testifiers made a valid argument that public opinion should matter in a democracy,” Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson said. “We were elected to represent the people of Hawaii, and we can’t ignore them and their concerns.”
He continued, “Considering what we heard in the five days of testimony and what I’ve heard from my community, I urge my colleagues to be sensitive to the many objections expressed in the hearing and stop SB 1. It’s not too late to support the will of the people.”
“The Legislature has never seen this level of public concern for a bill,” said Rep. Beth Fukumoto. “The numbers underscore what was echoed hundreds of times in the hearing – that the majority of local residents is not comfortable with this bill or the process that it is going through. The public is right to distrust the hasty and confusing process through which this bill is moving.”
The unofficial count found that of 10,749 unique pieces of written testimony submitted to the House, 8,556 (80%) were in opposition and 2,193 (20%) were in support. Of 1,032 oral testifiers, 895 (87%) opposed the measure and 137 (13%) supported it.
Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson serves as the House Minority Leader and Vice Chair of the House Committee on Finance. He represents the 31st House District covering Moanalua, Foster Village and Aiea. Rep. Beth Fukumoto serves as the House Minority Floor Leader and represents the 36th House District covering Mililani and Mililani Mauk
Michigan. Cities passing their own LGBT ordinances put pressure on the state legislature and there's a lawsuit going to trial in February challenging the state ban. Recent statewide polls show a slim majority favoring equality.
Illinois is done.
It's sad that Wisconsin is being left back in the last century due to their idiocy in electing Governor Scott Walker, and their utter stupidity in not recalling him when they had the chance. What the fuck is wrong with the people in that otherwise normally liberal state?!?