5182 people registered to speak. Almost 60 hours and five full days of testimony heard. And after this exhausting portion of a special legislative session, the Hawaii House Judiciary and House Finance Committees Tuesday passed Governor Neil Abercrombie’s same-sex marriage bill onto the full House for a vote, which will begin at midnight tonight, Eastern time.
Lawmakers had patiently sat through a marathon parade of religious zealots, many of whom appeared to be reading from similar-sounding speeches, some of whom could not even properly read the speeches they had waited a day or more to deliver.
Lawmakers Tuesday night were far from unanimous, but overall agreed to adopt greater religious exemptions, based on Connecticut law, and made a few other procedural changes. If passed by the full House, same-sex marriage would become legal before the end of the year.
Charges of cheating and speaking on behalf of other people, testifying more than once, and other attempts to bypass the rules were brought and ultimately on Monday the House was forced to institute a strict policy that made those who wished to testify provide proof of their ID.
“90 percent of the information is duplicative, but we made a commitment to hear testimony, because this is a serious issue, and this is important for a lot of people,” Rep. Sylvia Luke said today. “But if people are trying to get other people — or trying to testify on behalf of other people — then that kind of defeats the whole purpose of having this hearing.”
People pray in the Hawaii State Capitol rotunda outside of the House hearing on SB1, the marriage equality bill. pic.twitter.com/DstMguO1LH
— Michelle B. Van Dyke (@michellebvd) November 4, 2013
Much like the marriage equality hearings in Rhode Island, the vast majority of testifiers invoked the Bible, religious, and many lies about LGBT people.
— Christine Hitt (@ChristineHitt) November 5, 2013
“I’m representing God right now,” one woman testifying late into the day Monday told the committees. “You pulled me out of my house today to speak for the Lord. I have the love of Jesus and I love you all. You have the power not to pass this bill. There are boundaries to protect us, to protect our children. The aloha spirit comes from the holy spirit.”
Another claimed she opposed the bill on First Amendment grounds, and began to read the First Amendment. “I am appalled at the way this bill is being pushed through.”
Most of those opposed to equality identified themselves as “a registered voter” and “as a Christian” and claimed similar arguments: the bill is unconstitutional, it abridges their civil rights, children will be forced to learn about gay sex practices in school, what’s the rush?, let the people vote, homosexuality is a choice, this process is undemocratic, and homosexuality is against God.
“Now I can be a perpetrator, going into a restroom dressed like a girl,” one man, who said he is a father, told the lawmakers, assuming the same-sex marriage bill would pass. “The churches can now get sued… there’s going to be a lot of chaos, a lot of hate… SB-1 stands for ‘stupid bill number one.’”
Sadly, the last person to testify (right) teased lawmakers as to his position. He mentioned he had a gay brother and a straight HIV-positive sister, and danced around his position on marriage equality.
In the end, he held up a yellow rubber electric plug and socket to demonstrate that same-sex marriage is “wrong.”
In the end, lawmakers actually followed the law and not malformed and ignorant opinions or the Bible.
Image: Marriage equality supporters on Monday outside the Hawaii state capitol. Photo by michellebvd via Instagram
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