Political Radar

Road show

October 16th, 2013

Five state House lawmakers who either oppose or are undecided on gay marriage are planning informational briefings on the Neighbor Islands and Oahu before a special session opens on Oct. 28.

The lawmakers say the briefings are in response House Speaker Joseph Souki's decision not to schedule gay marriage hearings on the Neighbor Islands.

The briefings would culminate in an event on Oahu next Wednesday evening at the state Capitol.

Reps. Gene Ward, Marcus Oshiro, Bob McDermott, Sharon Har and Richard Fale are organizing the briefings. Ward, McDermott, Har and Fale are opposed to gay marriage. Oshiro says he is undecided but has urged lawmakers not to act in special session.

Oshiro and Har are majority Democrats. Ward, McDermott and Fale are minority Republicans.

An aide to Ward forwarded an invitation to other House lawmakers on Tuesday evening:

Aloha House Colleagues,

Last week Speaker Souki noted that the House of Representatives would not be holding any public hearings on the Neighbor Islands or elsewhere prior to the Special Session, (See Star-Advertiser, October 11, 2013). When the Special Session begins October 28th public input will be limited to a single hearing in the State Capitol Auditorium, likely on Monday afternoon on the day the session begins.

Given the curtailment of neighbor island input, plus the limitation of the Special Session to just 5 days, plus the extremely limited amount of time that will be allowed for persons to testify on Oahu (likely 1 minute each for hundreds of people in the Capitol Auditorium) it may be necessary for us to consider a few alternatives to this approach ­ which appears to be extremely inflexible and very rushed. The people of Hawaii deserve to be heard, and Hawaii's House members owe them time and respect to be listened to before the Special Session.

With this in mind, the under-signed Representatives in the Hawaii State House are prepared to hold `Informational Briefings' on the Neighbor Islands beginning with the Big Island and moving to Maui, and then ending on Kauai and Oahu. The Informational Briefings will invite experts on both sides of the issue of same-gender marriage and then hear testimony from the public. It is anticipated that these hearings will be filmed and participating legislators will pose questions to those giving testimony.

If these Informational Briefings are of interest to you, you can participate in two ways:  1) sign on as a member of the Special Session Informational Briefing Panel; or 2) you may simply attend a hearing and be given the opportunity to join legislators at the front table. Most all of the Neighbor Island reps have been personally invited. We anticipate the Informational Briefings will begin next week in Hilo, and Kailua-Kona.

There are no over-nights stays planned and each representative's legislative allowance will be used to fund travel expenses. Following the hearings on the Big Island, we will proceed to Maui and Kauai culminating with an Oahu information briefing on Wednesday, October 23 at 6 pm in at the State Capitol, Room 329.

Please let us know if you would like to join this effort by contacting one of the representatives below by COB Friday, October 18, 2013. Details of site locations and times will be shortly announced and sent to you as you respond.

13 Responses to “Road show”

  1. Kolea:

    Marcus is saying he is "undecided" on marriage equality? He has been in the leadership of the State House for decades while the issue has evolved from "domestic partnerships" to "civil unions" to full marriage equality. There have been hundreds of hours of testimony and he cannot yet come to a decision as to whether gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and consideration as opposite sex couples?

    If we strip away the factional considerations currently clouding Marcus' mind: "Can I use this issue to cause problems to the Souki-Dissident-Republican alliance?," the core issue is pretty simple. Does he believe there is a compelling state interest in continuing to discriminate against gays an lesbians? Yes? No? It is obvious some members of the legislature believe morality comes from "on high," dictated to us from a sometimes arbitrary an angry God. And "ours is not to reason why," as "the Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways." Our morality under such a viewpoint is how "obedient" are we to this archaic code of conduct? Perhaps Marcus can tell us, bravely and openly, if THIS is what causes him to believe in inequality?

    Some legislators do not care whether it is unjust to treat gay couples unfairly. What IS important is whether their own political career will suffer if they offend conservative churches in their district by voting for equal rights. My sense is Marcus is very strong in his district and could easily withstand any challenge from the Right. OTOH, Marcus has been seen, for many years, as the heir apparent to Calvin Say as the next Speaker of the House. Rather than see the re-emeergence of Joe Souki as a temporary setback to his "destiny"--something he should merely wait out-- Marcus appears to have lost all sense of proportion, as well as the natural grace which used to animate him. In his efforts to sabotage Souki, he has embraced a coarse factionalist spirit. Or, perhaps, it has embraced him. He has grabbed onto a nasty, meanspirited issue to use as a weapon to score points against the leadership and both his choice of this issue and his coarse factionalism threaten to forever taint him and will destroy his chances of ever becoming Speaker in the Future. In today's Democratic Party, you cannot actively work to block equality for gays and lesbians and not be seen as either a reactionary, an opportunist, or both.

    Mike Gabbard abandoned this sort of anti-gay activism in the process of becoming integrated into the Democratic Party. It is shame to see the son of Bob Oshiro pick up the banner an march at the head of the red shirt mob. Not because he believes in their cause. But in order to weaken Joe Souki for daring to occupy a seat Marcus thinks is rightfully his. Shame.

    But, hey, he has thrown his lot in with such forward-thing legislators as Gene Ward, Bob McDermott, Sharon Har and Richard Fale. Maybe we can see the nucleus of a new, bi-partisan leadership group for Marcus's comeback?

    (Able was I ere I saw Elba?)

  2. Manoa Kahuna:

    Well said Kolea.

    Marcus Oshiro has always been a self important disappointment. However, since Calvin Say was forced out he has allowed his thwarted lust for higher office to drive him to increasingly bizarre behavior.

  3. Alan R. Spector:

    Thanks Kolea for always excellent assessment. Could you explain more about when you say that Mike Gabbard has abandoned this sort of anti-gay activism? He certainly didn't during the civil union debates. Haven't heard any public pronouncements from him now, however. Though I would assume he will give some anti-gay floor speeches and be tough on some of the marriage equality proponents during the public hearing. (I still remember his antics against Kim Coco Iwamoto during the 2009 Senate public hearing)

  4. scott foster:

    "Jesus wept."

  5. Kolea:

    Alan, I hate to have my MASSIVE credibility hinge on whether I can predict how Mike Gabbard is going to behave. ; )

    While Mike continues to oppose marriage equality, he has abandoned the more theatrical antics which first brought him to public attention as the lead cheerleader for passionate homophobia. I attribute that to his increased integration into the Democratic networks, both as a legislator and as the father of a promising young congresswoman. His principles remain the same. But he no longer is driven to the public stage to define himself as Arch-Homophobe, as role he has yielded to Bob McDermott.

    I accept responsibility. It was on this very blog a few days ago that I wrote:

    "Let's take this on the road! The Traveling Bob, Rant and Rave, Fire and Brimstone Show!"

    I just hadn't figured Marcus would sign on as a roadie for the band. My bad.

  6. ohiaforest3400:

    It must be hard being Bob Oshiro's son. Marcus seems driven to be whoever people think his father was, not who he should be. Anything less is failure, hence his desperation. I've never seen him maintain a lucid conversation that didn't rely entirely for its credibility on anything other than his position ("Mr. Chairman") or his pedigree. Meanwhile, it seems that the surfing party boy hasn't developed a play book of his own, and may no longer possess the brain power necessary to acquire one.

    You also have to consider with whom Narcus is surrounded; his wife, apparently, is an evangelical Christian with strong ties, or even a position with one of the evangelical churches. (He shares this with Ryan Yamane who is opposed to marriage equality apparently because of it, although he won't come out and own it, so to say.) His machinations also appear to be driven by a long time aide who has neither the legal background nor the smarts to acquire it, is vehemently anti-marriage equality (Roman Catholic, apparently), and has a reputation as being somewhat of a goon for Marcus in the Capitol. Add it all together, and there you have Marcus. Sad, very sad.

    As for the road show, I wonder what "experts" from the marriage equality side will participate on a panel populated by the homophobic fringe, ranging from Flat Earth Society Charter Member Bob McDermott to I got my Law Degree Off the Back of a Cereal Box Sharon Har. The worst sort of political S&M show. How ironic for the morality caucus. And not even good theater, either.

  7. Alan R. Spector:

    I wouldn't anticipate folks from the pro-equality side participating in the road show. I know that I wouldn't as it would be a set up, like going on Bill O'Reilly. It isn't sponsored by objective parties. It is clearly just a strategy of the opponents for some propaganda, media attention, etc.

  8. Especially Incognito:

    So funny, one sided comments on being Civil.
    Too much thinking on the right or left
    and those cannot think straight.
    Going in circles, yet never meeting.


  9. Especially Incognito:

    Conservatives and DINOs like souki will not
    go for something that is not conservative.
    lindsey graham is against it and yet he is
    rumored to be gay.

  10. Kevin:

    Some legislators are complaining about the costs of this session while forgetting this important detail.
    There is a lawsuit pending about the gay marriage ban and since Section 3 of DOMA was struck down,there is no way civil unions can be considered equal anymore.
    They can pass it now or have the courts do it for them with more money spent on defending a lawsuit that won't win.

  11. Auto de Fe:

    There is no constitutional mandate for 'equality' between competing family structures.

  12. Especially Incognito:

    Seems that one thinks it is a Civil authority.

  13. Political Radar | No show | Political Radar | staradvertiser.com | Honolulu, Hawaii:

    [...] aide to Ward had sent out an email last week to all House lawmakers outlining a briefing schedule and listing the participants as McDermott, Ward, Rep. Richard Fale, Rep. Marcus Oshiro and Rep. [...]

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