Political Radar

`My name is Joe Wilson'

November 5th, 2013

State House lawmakers conducting a marathon hearing on marriage equality have heard a sea of Christian voices who oppose gay marriage.

The few gay and lesbian voices who support marriage equality have stood out. One of them was Joe Wilson, a documentary filmmaker who lives on the North Shore, who spoke late Monday.

During this special session, the people of Hawaii, and indeed the world, have been witness to the hell that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, mahu, and other people deemed unacceptable by self-righteous bullies know all too well.

You have seen us sit here while people speak about us in the most dehumanizing terms as though we were not present, as though such vile mischaracterizations as perverts, bug chasers, cross-dressers, and security threats do not affect or terrify us -- as though such heinous lies do not inflict wounds or tear our souls apart.

Having seen this, perhaps you now have an idea of what it might be like to be a young gay or gender non-conforming person in one of our schools terrorized by playground bullies who act this way.

Perhaps now you have an idea of what it might be like to grow up in a family that would create such an environment in its own home, forcing their own gay or gender creative children to suppress their most human of feelings, to torture themselves with guilt for who they are, to live a childhood void of true parental love, to feel that they have no choice but to take to the streets to survive, or worse, to take their own lives to end this hell.

Perhaps now you have some notion what it might be like to be a person who lost a job or apartment or was denied any number of opportunities most people take for granted because one of these loving individuals could not find it within themselves to be accepting or to understand that their personal beliefs do not now, nor will they ever, trump our right to live our lives as freely and openly -- and equally under the law -- as they live theirs.

Perhaps now you'll know what it's like to walk down the street looking over your shoulder, wondering if the person who just called you a faggot is going to turn and chase you down, punch or stab you because you are not welcome in their world.

If so, I hope you'll agree that it is time to overcome this intolerance, and to not just pass what should be a simple thing like marriage equality, but to end these harms that have been done in the name of religion, tradition, and state-sanctioned discrimination for far too long -- and to begin to make our communities whole again.

Please, do the right thing. Pass SB1.

Rep. Richard Fale, who opposes gay marriage, represents Wilson and his partner Dean Hamer, a geneticist.

Fale called Wilson back to the podium after his testimony to explain that, as a Tongan, Fale too has experienced discrimination.

Fale asked Wilson whether there are higher priorities for the state, such as child poverty, that might merit a special session.

"Do you think the governor should have put our children in poverty first?" the North Shore Republican asked.

"I resent that you are making this a circus," Wilson replied.

14 Responses to “`My name is Joe Wilson'”

  1. Mr. T:

    Hawaii is a pretty tolerant place. We have to be, to survive the morning traffic and not kill each other. Whether the assertion by Mr. Wilson is a truth or not, you can decide.

    From the testimonies so far, this is clear:

    * People have no problem with gay couples getting their benefits.
    * Passing SB1 results in a State that promotes and enforces homosexuality. That is immoral and unconstitutional, regardless of religious believe or whether homosexuality is an inborn trait or not.
    * If the legislature is rushing to pass SB1 because a popular vote will turn it down, this same popular vote will vote everyone who voted "yes" out of their office.

    If SB1 passes, such an injustice would have been done to the People of Hawaii that there would be no recourse for the People of Hawaii but to pursue justice. The move "Kill Bill" will be playing at the ballot on the next election day. This should be a no-brainer for the House. Protect the People of Hawaii by killing SB1 and pass another bill that gives gay couple their rights.

  2. Johnson:

    No, Mr. T, this much is NOT clear. From my perspective, exactly *none* of your points are valid ones.

    *If you've listened to any stretch of the testimony, you know that there are many people who have a problem with gay people even existing, much less getting the benefits to which they should be entitled.
    *Passing SB 1 will result in promoting and enforcing *equal* rights and beginning to level a playing field that is very tilted.
    *If you call 15 years of discussion, or 55+ hours of testimony on one bill, a 'rush,' then you need help.

    You want "another" bill that would give people their rights? Right. Sure you do. You just want to pull a Marcus - you want to delay and delay and delay, then decide the next bill wouldn't be the right one either. The bill in question, SB1, IS the bill that will provide those rights you say you support.

  3. Sonny:

    . . . That is immoral and unconstitutional, regardless of religious believe or whether homosexuality is an inborn trait or not . . . Hmm, must be the Scarecrow and heʻs lost his marbles . . . Again!

  4. Kolea:

    The special session is not "rushing approval of the bill." Any such statement is a sign of ignorance of the way a bill is handled during a regular session or an attempt to deliberately mislead.

    During a regular session, thousands of bills are introduced in each chamber, forcing legislators and interested citizens to split their attention between them. This special session is essentially devoted to this one bill, allowing BOTH the legislators and the public to focus their attention and (hopefully) intellect solely upon it. In a regular session, there is no way the legislature would have the flexibility to allow over 50 hours of public testimony on this bill.

    In preparation of this session, focussed on this one bill, months of work went into trying to craft and improve this ONE bill, working with lawyers, both public and private to research legislation passed in other states, as well as TRYING to accommodate reasonable and sincere concerns by legislators. Similar efforts would be attempted for the bill if it were to be heard in regular session, but the attention of legislators, staffers and advocates would NECESSARILY be divided and distracted by other legislation.

    The same people who are complaining about this bill being given only a "limited amount of time" in a special session, are deliberately trying to --IN THEIR OWN WORDS--"waste time." The repetitive, nonsensical and irrelevant religious "witnessing" they are engaging in is not designed to help craft a better bill, nor to even provide rational POLICY reasons for voting against the bill. And the few legislators who are openly working to sabotage the orderly, deliberative nature of the session are doing so mostly out of petty factional or partisan motivations, or in order to grandstand for votes in future elections. Although, in a few cases, I will concede some legislators seem to be operating out of sincere ignorance of the law and their constitutional obligations.

  5. iwonderwhytheyhateme:

    I think government should just get out of the marriage business completely. Only issue civil unions or partnerships to get the benefits etc. It stops and ends there.

    If you want to get "married," go to the church to get the ceremony done. It stops and ends there.

  6. Mr. T:

    The People of Hawaii are tolerant, but we are not ignorant. We remember what happened in the Senate.

  7. Jesse:

    #5...I've been saying that all along. Don't call anything marriage, just civil unions. If you want to have 5 civil unions then so be it, it is simply a contract between 2 consenting individuals.

    Marriages would only be done by churches willing to do them according to their religious beliefs.

    In other words, all marriages will be civil unions, but not all civil unions will be marriages...nuff said.

  8. chuckles:

    Kolea, you are confusing the people with your big words and reason. You must be a gay-loving hippie communist trying to force your pantheistic devil worshiping views on our children who we homeschool.

  9. iwonderwhytheyhateme:


    I agree.

  10. Especially Incognito:

    When government is gone then so are the people.
    Anything wrong in our government is the people's fault.
    When Under God and for the people, of the people
    and by the people, than maybe we can continue.

    If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, than
    baffle them with Bureacratic Standards. Works
    all the time. Confusing some that cannot think carefree.

  11. Mr. T:

    Thoreau quoting the United States Magazine and Democratic Review: "The best government is that which governs least."

  12. Especially Incognito:

    "I don't hate fools, I pity them! (I pity the fool)"
    The real Mr. T.

    The people are of the fools, for the fools and by the fools.

  13. D:

    Everybody seems to be conditioned from there believe system. Where does the golden rule play in all this? p.s I have a belly button

  14. Especially Incognito:

    There are those with in or out belly buttons.
    What's the point? Right or Left?

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