Thursday, September 26, 2013

In Hawaii, Aloha Ipo (Maybe)


It could be "Hello, lover," on the shiny beaches if the special legislative session in Hawaii finally seals the deal.

Our Pacific paradise was was early (1996) with a court decision that forbidding same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. As became the pattern in the rest of the U.S., winger and anti-gay panic kicked in quickly. The court put its decision on hold and within two years, the now familiar one-man/one-woman constitutional amendment passed. [Subsequently, public opinion went from 70% for the amendment to about 54% for SSM and 37% opposed.]

As the public noted civil unions and gay marriage working well in other states, the panic subsided. By 2010, both houses of the legislature passed a civil unions bill, but the conservative, Republican governor vetoed it.

The next year, with a new, Dem, progressive governor (Neil Abercrombie), the bill returned, passed and became law.

Now, he is pushing for the real thing. Over the objections of Roman Catholic and some Protestant clerical pols, he wants a special session just to do that. His marriage bill goes straight to the artificial scare tactics of the anti people. In excruciating detail, it iterates and reiterates what state law already covers. No one empowered to solemnize marriages will be compelled to perform same-sex ones nor suffer any criminal or civil penalty for declining. Moreover, churches and religious institutions won't have to rent or give use of their religious facilities to same-sex couples for weddings or receptions.

It doesn't say, but federal and state law also comes into play here. Where a real or nominally religious organization operates its facilities for-profit and rents to the public, they have to obey anti-discrimination rules. They have a choice of making as much money as they can from all comers or limiting their facilities to just their religious types.

We can be pretty sure that the fruitbats who have claimed without any basis and perhaps even with full knowledge of dishonesty that churches and clerics will be forced to sanction gay marriages will not ease off. Just because the new version of the law gives them all the exemptions they could ask for, that's not really what it's about.

It's like that inane set of claims (like marriage being only for making children) this is really just about being able to arbitrarily hurt, hamper and harm homosexuals. It appears as though Gov. Abercrombie has no patience for that.

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