By Derrick DePledge
State Rep. Karl Rhoads said Saturday evening that the state House would continue to hear testimony on a gay marriage bill until 11 p.m. and would reconvene the hearing on Monday morning at 11 a.m.
Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee and House Finance Committee will have spent 14 hours on Saturday hearing testimony, after hearing 13 hours on Friday and 14 hours on Thursday.
House leaders made a commitment to hear from all 5,181 people who had signed up to testify.
If the committees vote to advance the bill on Monday, it would go to second reading before the full House.
Rhoads, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Sylvia Luke, the chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, tried to keep the hearing on track and the testifiers to their two-minute time limit. But as the hours dragged on, the hearing took on the element of performance art.
*Update: Late Saturday night, one woman used her time to sing "Hawaii Pono'i," prompting many in the audience -- and lawmakers on the committee -- to stand and sing along.
Another woman, a recent immigrant from China, realizing she had more time left, began slowly repeating: "Please ...please ...please say `no' to SB1. Please ...please ...please say `no' to SB1."
"Please don't say that for another 30 seconds," Rhoads deadpanned.
"Please ...please ...please say `no' to SB1," the woman continued, drawing cheers from the audience.
The last question from a lawmaker -- just before 11 p.m., after 14 hours of testimony on Saturday and 41 hours in total -- came from Rep. Bob McDermott, who asked a Christian counselor who had presented data on the higher incidence of AIDS among gay men: "Are you familiar with the term `bug chaser' or `gift giver?'"
When the counselor did not immediately answer, McDermott let the question drop and the hearing recessed.