Freshman Hawai'i State House member, Kaniela Ing, after sitting through an exhausting 5000+ public testimonies spanning five days spoke out in favor of Marriage Equality and voted Aye on SB1 which grants gays the right to marry in Hawai'i.
A majority of the public testimony was organized by New Hope Church, the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church. Testifiers were bussed in, flown in (even from as far away as Canada) and the same discredited talking points were repeated ad nauseum.
Dirty tricks on the part of anti-SB1 forces abounded. At one point the testifier list was taken and accusations were made that anti-SB1 testifiers were going twice in the places of absent people on the list.
Anti-SB1 talking points were repeated over and over again:
Gay marriage will mean that your elementary school children will be shown photos of gay people having anal sex.
Gays are responsible for AIDES and gay marriage will threaten your children with AIDES.
Your children will be forced to participate in mock same sex marriages in school.
Gay marriage threatens "traditional marriage".
And the most prevalent theme: My church says gays are an abomination and SB1 will mean I can't discriminate against them.
It was telling that many testifiers were reading off prepared testimony and were stumbling over unfamiliar words with what appeared to be no understanding of what they were reading.
You can see the exhaustion in the legislators after this marathon of public testimony. But Representative Ing kept his aloha, treated testifiers with respect and compassion.
While many legislators responded on Constitutional grounds, arguing that one religion (that discriminates against gays) should not be elevated above other religions (which do not discriminate), Rep Ing, addressed the religious issues head on, ending with an inspiring call to action for young people to reform their churches and eliminate anti-gay discrimination.
Kaniela Ing is an up and coming politician who who is incredibly popular on his home island of Maui. Keep an eye on him as he will go far. If you would like to contribute to this young legislator here's his website: kanielaing.com.
4:32 PM PT: Anti-SB1 mobs are yelling "Let us Vote" (wanting to derail the legislative process) while churches in favor of SB1 are holding a rally in front of the Legislature which has recessed. Anti-SB1 legislators are trying to amend it to call for a public vote. There is no live feed and confusion reigns.
6:04 PM PT: From Star Advertiser: Forty Christian pastors who are in favor of legalized same-sex marriage and about 60 of their supporters linked raised arms and sang "Amazing Grace" after being confronted at the state Capitol rotunda by opponents of the bill being discussed today by House lawmakers.
The gay-marriage opponents tried to shout down the pastors who were holding a news conference at noon at the rotunda.
Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 10:39 AM PT: Prior to the vote, Rep Ing disclosed a conflict of interest to the Speaker of the House saying, "I am a straight man voting on gay men's rights". He voted anyway - AYE on SB1 (for Marriage Equality)