Political Radar

`On the brink'

August 16th, 2013

Hawaii's congressional delegation is urging Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the state Legislature to act quickly on gay marriage.

The coordinated statement was released Friday by Hawaii United for Marriage, an advocacy group that wants lawmakers to return in special session and pass a gay marriage bill. The push comes after U.S. Supreme Court rulings in June that legally married gay couples have the right to federal benefits.

Hawaii allows gay and heterosexual couples to enter into civil unions and receive the same rights and benefits of marriage under state law.

Abercrombie and state House and Senate leaders have been publicly circumspect about a special session, although there have been extensive discussions behind the scenes. House and Senate leaders have said they do not have the two-thirds' support required to call themselves back into special session, so the decision rests with Abercrombie, who aides say is waiting for a clear signal from the House about whether there are enough votes for a gay marriage bill. The Senate has the votes for gay marriage.

If there is no special session, lawmakers will consider gay marriage during the next session of the Legislature that starts in January.

From U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz:

Equality goes hand-in-hand with Hawaii’s values and with what the majority of Americans hope to achieve. Our country took an important step towards achieving marriage equality, and now it’s time for Hawaii to step up and allow same-sex couples to marry.  I urge the Hawaii State Legislature to do what’s right and make marriage equality a reality.

From U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono:

We’re on the brink of getting marriage equality in Hawaii and same-sex couples shouldn’t have to wait any longer for this fundamental civil right.  Let's get this done.

From U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa:

It’s time for Hawaii to stand with the growing number of states across the country that offer full marriage equality to all of it’s citizens. I encourage Governor Abercrombie and our state legislators to prove their determination by swift, decisive action.

From U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard:

I disagree with a two-tiered, discriminatory government policy of ‘marriage’ and ‘civil unions.’  Government officials, judges, and bureaucrats should not have the power to declare one relationship ‘morally’ superior to another.  As long as government is involved in the marriage business, it must treat all Americans as equal.

8 Responses to “`On the brink'”

  1. Eric Ryan:

    In the name of "full marriage equality", since we are now converting sexual orientations into matrimonial opportunities, will a bisexual be able to marry one man AND one woman simultaneously? If not, this is really a ruse by gays and lesbians to shut out bisexuals, not to mention transvestites, transsexuals, pedophiles, polygamists and others who supposedly deserve "full marriage equality".

  2. Kolea:

    This issue has been debated in Hawaii since the early 1990s. No one can claim it has not been discussed to death or that they have no had an opportunity to express their opinion or share new "information" necessary to further the debate.

    In addition, polls show public opinion has shifted so a majority of Hawaii residents now support full marriage equality. This shift is consistent with polling data across the United States. This is a "settled issue," except the Legislature has lagged behind the public on this.

    To be fair to the Legislature, the two recent US Supreme Court cases have come down since since the last legislative session. Some of the laggards had said they were waiting for the Court to rule. Not only have the new rulings eliminated excuses for delay, they have help shift public opinion. Even the social conservatives admit the tide of history is with equality, even as they lament the fact and use it to draw parallels with the "Fall of Rome."

    It is time for the Governor to call a special session. There ARE sufficient votes in BOTH chambers, not just the Senate. If anyone in the Governor's Office wishes to place a friendly cash wager with me to demonstrate a GENUINE (rather than feigned) opinion to hte contrary, I will give them better than even odds.

    It is unclear to me what POLITICAL considerations may be causing the Guv to delay. His public support for marriage equality (in the abstract) is well-known. And his declared opponent, Senator David Ige also supports full marriage equality. The Governor's relations with the liberal base of the Democratic electorate has been sorely strained by his attempt to push through the PLDC, his broken promise to oppose the Hoopili development, his threat to "roll over the AARP," presumably NOT with tanks, etc. His current vacillations over marriage equality serve to reinforce the perception he has abandoned the unapologetic liberalism which won him his original core group of support.

    If David Ige is better than Abercrombie on marriage equality, where does Ige stand on the other issues we care about? Frankly, Senator Ige is looking better each day the Guv dithers. Is this how a state "leader" behaves? Sheesh.

  3. Goober:

    There are still people with ethics.
    Common sense.

    Since sodomy is legal between consenting
    adults, their posteior motive came back
    and bit them. Everyone will turn to salt.

  4. Guy:

    Kolea, talk about politics... Obviously, you're an Ige supporter. And you somehow managed to make this all about the Governor. Take your own advice.

  5. Kolea:

    Guy, I don't get your point.

    This IS about the Governor. He is the single person who has the power to ensure marriage equality gets passed soo rather than six or seven months later. The votes are there in both chambers, all that needs to be done is for a session to be called. That's where the Governor comes in, if he is actually a "leader" rather than yet another timid politician, with exaggerated fears of anti-gay conservatives.

    I have not yet decided whether to support Ig. I am only pointing out the risks the Governor is exposing himself to by appearing indecisive and unprincipled. I do not know Ige's views on other issues I care about. Perhaps, aftr learning more, I will settle for Abercrombie. By Neil's current waffling gives me, and plenty of others, time to study Ige's views and consider voting for him. If Abercrombie listens to what I am saying, it can serve as good advice abd it would HELP his campaign, not hurt it. If he is stubborn and obstinate, as he certainly can be, he will ignore the good advice and get defensive, like you have become.

  6. Guy:

    Ok, so the Governor calls a special session and the Legislature (namely the House) doesn't pass the bill... Then you will be claiming he wasted money for nothing. Nevermind that it will be a huge setback.

  7. Kolea:

    Guy, First off, I am not out looking for any and all excuses to pick on the Governor, so "I" would not claim he was wasting money. Not sure where that charge comes from, unless you think anyone who disagrees with the Governor on an issue is just looking for an excuse to badmouth him.

    Second, I have been talking to legislators as well as those who have a running tally. Even the most pessimistic shows the bill passing in the House by a small, but comfortable margin. The more optimistic show a strong majority. Frankly, I think BOshiro's recent comments were designed to give the Governor cover for dithering.

    Other than defending the Governor, are you willing to offer an opinion of your own? Do YOU doubt the votes are there? Do YOU think the bill has a better chance of passing in a special session or if they wait until 2014? Do YOU think the legislators are more willing to vote for it now or then?

    Seriously, your comments here sound like you are more concerned with making the Governor look good than in passing the bill or taking the risk of engaging in a honest appraisal of the situation.

  8. Especially Incognito:

    lingle vetoed the original bill due to wording.
    she alone in office wanted the public to vote on it.

    I don't get it. I don't get it.

    "Ig"? More like if.

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