By Derrick DePledge
State Rep. Kaniela Ing said Monday that he could have chosen his words more carefully when he referred to some of the testimony against marriage equality as "pilau" in a Facebook post. But the Maui representative said his comment was taken out of context.
The Hawaii Christian Coalition has been circulating Ing's comment and it has been mentioned on Monday by several people testifying on the bill before the House Judiciary Committee and the House Finance Committee.
I am frustrated by a context-shredding smear tactic that a small group of SB1 testifiers have used on a recent comment that I made to help uplift a distraught friend.
Last week, a friend of mine fell victim to direct and hateful insults during the sb1 hearing, just because he happened to be gay.
This is something that I refuse to stand by and let happen.
He wrote about the incident both publically and via private message on Facebook and was clearly distraught. I wrote to assure him that everything will be alright. Looking back, I could have chosen my words more carefully, but I assumed it would be okay since both sides of the debate agree that hate is intolerable.
Shortly after however, a photo of the post was created and circulated by a certain special-interest group with the entire context cropped or blurred out. This created the illusion that I was calling all opposing testifiers (not just the words of the specific bullies) "pilau" and speaking on behalf of the House (and not just standing with his other Facebook friends who also had his back).
No matter what side you are on, acts of civic dishonesty--stealing testifier sheets, misrepresenting statements, and smudging names--have no place in Hawaii and will only further divide our society.
While it is essential to a healthy democratic process to passionately and vigorously express our opinions, I ask that we stick to the merits of the bill and refrain from any personal attacks. Because no matter where you stand on this bill, gay-bashing and God-bashing, both are indeed pilau--and there's no way to spin that.
My comments were severely edited down and presented without context and the true story. Because of this, I apologize if people were misled by my intentions.
I'm still trying my best to listen with all my energy and heart, and I'm seeking a solution that will address equality of rights while preserving freedom of religion. This was only an isolated incident, and I have been encouraged by testifiers on both sides of the debate who have been generally very positive and civil. Let's continue to conduct this discussion with the utmost aloha and respect.