There’s a maelstrom of controversy surrounding Hawaii House Bill #444, which “extends the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union.” Churches and other groups organized a demonstration against the bill that drew thousands to the State Capitol on Sunday, and the Interfaith Alliance Hawaii staged a smaller rally in support of the measure yesterday.
Today, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations heard public testimony, and the crowd on hand “is the largest in recent memory,” according to Honolulu Advertiser political reporter Derek DePledge. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve been able to track near real-time coverage of the day’s testimony.
Without a doubt, the day’s most disturbing statements (so far) came from Councilman Gary Okino. Here are the Twitter updates courtesy DePledge, the Hawaii State Senate Majority office, and L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine:
- hawaiisenate: Gary Okino testifying in opposition to civil unions
- NEENZ: Councilman Okino says that #HB444 is a threat to Hawaii because he’s a Christian and that we better abide by God.
- ddepledge: Honolulu City Councilman Okino: civil unions would be a danger to the community.
- NEENZ: Councilman Okino says that a STDs, diseases and AIDS are almost exclusive to a homosexual lifestyle. #HB444
- hawaiisenate: Okino: Civil unions would be a danger to HI. Cites dangerous health risks to the homosexual community.
- ddepledge: Okino: marriage is between a man and woman because the “parts fit.” Homosexuality, he says, causes disease.
- NEENZ: Councilman Okino says that homosexuals have these STDs, diseases, and AIDS because parts don’t fit. #HB444
- ddepledge: Okino: Civil unions would give legal equivalence to the homosexual lifestyle.
- hawaiisenate: Okino: Massachusetts legalizing same-sex marriage have had dangerous consequences. Children are being indoctrinated into homosexual lifestyle
- ddepledge: Okino: “I believe they’re misinterpreting the Bible.”
- ddepledge: Sen. Nishihara asks whether Okino bases his decision on the Bible or the law.
- ddepledge: Okino says he bases his moral decisions on the Bible.
The reaction was, not surprisingly, swift and strong:
- aloha_aina: Appalling! Councilman Okino. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Love thy neighbor as thyself. No where does God say to legislate hate!
- kristenbonilla: Seriously?!?! Okino said that?!?!? Wow, I’m speechless.
- satlu: Holy hell, that may have been the most ignorant statement of the year from Councilman Okino
- billso: Okino said what?!? Is he that poorly informed or is he just another ignorant bigot? Sad. Keep us posted.
- valdezign: Okino is a moron. That’s shameful.
Ultimately, the debate is over whether “civil unions” are just “marriage” with another name (since Hawaii voters already made “same-sex marriage” illegal). The democratic and legislative process is supposed to sort these things out, and I can see reasonable arguments on both sides of the issue.
But Okino’s statements are unforgivable. I hope he hears just how wrong he is from more than just a few Twitter users.