By Derrick DePledge
A symposium on the religious exemption in a gay marriage bill that was scheduled for Wednesday evening at the state Capitol has been cancelled.
Organizers from the University of Hawaii law school said there was a misunderstanding about whether the symposium would only focus on the religious exemption or whether other issues related to the bill would be discussed.
The religious exemption has emerged as one of the key issues in the debate over the bill.
The symposium was going to be moderated by Avi Soifer, the dean of the UH law school, and feature James Hochberg, an attorney and president of Hawaii Family Advocates; Lois Perrin, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii; and Andrea Freeman, a UH assistant professor of law.
Hochberg declined to comment beyond the announcement from UH that the event was cancelled.
“The panel was intended to be a meaningful briefing on the real-world implications of the marriage equality bill’s religious exemptions, and we were excited to show how the proposed legislation adequately protects religious freedom. ACLU of Hawaii was prepared to discuss a number of hypothetical scenarios prepared by the moderator. We are going to prepare responses to those scenarios and circulate them on our website," Perrin said in a statement. "Hawaii United for Marriage remains committed to demonstrating how passing Hawaii’s marriage bill protects religious freedom while granting long-overdue marriage equality in Hawaii.”