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Hawaii lawmakers facing challenge on 'gay marriage'
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 11/16/2013 @ 6:55 pm In Faith,Front Page,Health,Politics,U.S. | No Comments
Thousands of Hawaiians missed school and work, waited in line to testify as their cars were towed, endured daily rule changes by lawmakers and otherwise battled uphill to provide state representatives with more than 50 hours of testimony that mostly opposed a same-sex “marriage” bill.
Lawmakers ignored them, voting for the “gay” agenda anyway.
But they may not be able to ignore the next step.
WND has learned of a plan to request a temporary restraining order preventing the law from taking effect, pending a trial on what voters meant in a 1998 vote on marriage.
Prior to the vote 15 years ago, state officials informed voters that a yes vote “would add a new provision to the Constitution that would give the Legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples only.”
However, in the actual amendment, the word “only” was deleted, which changed the meaning of the amendment significantly.
“The word ‘only’ was not on the ballot. In the used car business, we call this ‘bait and switch,’” a source said.
Now a move has begun to seek a restraining order and a trial to make clear what voters were sold in the vote.
According to a source, “People thought they were banning same sex marriage … based on the flyers the state funded Office of Elections printed and mailed to every voter, and advertised for four weeks (once per week) in the daily papers.”
The recent vote in the state Legislature was hailed by homosexual activists and supporters, including President Obama.
“With today’s vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognize that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law,” Obama said.
But several videos posted online reveal how contentious the testimony became, including when a state official admitted the “broad religious exemption” would not protect churches from lawsuits except in perhaps one or two specific scenarios.
Democratic state Rep. Sharon Har asked the state attorney general about protections for religious organizations, events and individuals. The AG admitted that the only events for which there would be protections were “solemnizations.”
Democratic state Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the House committee holding the hearing, threatened to shut down the hearing because people were unhappy with the lack of responsiveness from lawmakers.
A witness said, “We didn’t feel like our voice was being heard.”
She noted friends who testified missed school, missed work, had their cars towed and brought children who were sleeping on the floor.
See the exchange with the attorney general:
See the exchange with Rhoads:
For five days, Hawaiians lined up to testify on the plan. Up to an estimated 90 percent opposed the bill, for which the legislature’s special session was assembled.
Nearly 5,200 people signed up to testify, but many simply could not wait the required five days.
Reports say more than 24,000 written testimonies were submitted.
A guest Hawaii Reporter commentary criticized the legislation as another one of those bills “we have to pass so we can find out what’s in it.”
The report cited problems such as “unequal treatment of homosexual vs. heterosexual couples.”
The report pointed out that the state would accept the word of applicants regarding their relationship status “on faith.”
“In relation to churches, no one could definitively determine what is meant by ‘for profit’ nor could anyone nail down who should decide,” the report said.
“The attorney general stated that no decision has yet been made on what the necessary indicia might be to determine what a ‘religious organization’ is? Even the IRS already has such standards in place!”
The state is the 16th to move toward validating homosexual “marriage.”
There never really was a doubt about the outcome, with Democrats controlling the state House 44-7 and the state Senate 24-1. But state Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican who opposed the sudden change in the definition of marriage, noted the surge of opposition from constituents.
He told WND the governor opened the door for the backlash when he announced the special legislative session. It was announced a month in advance so lawmakers could rearrange their schedules.
That gave opponents a month to assemble their opposition. The first strategy session included a handful of people, the second more than double, and soon hundreds became involved.
He said the huge flaw in proponents’ arguments is that they are comparing being homosexual to being interned during World War II for being Japanese or being black.
Members of those communities have expressed outrage that sexual habits would be likened to the persecution of innocent Japanese during World War II.
He had warned of the controversy over the 1998 election, when voters in Hawaii approved a constitutional amendment that the lawmakers have the right to preserve marriage. Voters understood at the time that marriage meant a relationship between two people of the opposite sex – because that’s what the state told them.
“The governor and many legislators now claim that the meaning of the issue presented on the 1998 ballot gave the state legislature the power to make all future decisions on same sex marriage,” he said.
But he insists “the adopted constitution amendment, and official instructions from the office of elections, clearly set limits on legislative authority.”
He said “people clearly ‘thought’ they were voting on a legal definition of marriage as between opposite sexes only. According to settled law, the people’s perception of the meaning of a constitutional vote carries precedence over any other subordinate statutory consideration.”
McDermott explained the official office of elections voter instructions stated a yes vote “would add a new provision to the constitution that would give the Legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples ONLY.”
“I was there in 1998 as a member of the state House … a claim few in office today can make. The people thought they were answering the question once and for all. However, the horrible language that was foisted upon the people by the Senate Judiciary committee at the time left us with no choice but to accept the amendment. This explains the mess we are in today,” McDermott said.
“The people spoke on this issue in 1998 in a clear voice. Conceding this decision to the legislature is not what they want as confirmed by a recent survey conducted by QEV Analytics which showed that 70 percent of Hawaii’s voters believed that the definition of marriage is something that the people should decide. So, let them decide again,” he said.
McDermott related that should the same-sex recognition be allowed, as has happened elsewhere, demands will follow for polygamy and other definitions of marriage.
“When I asked the governor, ‘Based on your reasoning that same-sex marriage is a civil right, then how can you disenfranchise a bisexual from marrying the people he/she loves? I was shocked by his response: ‘I fully expect a lawsuit to be filed in about a year,’” McDermott said.
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