Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Help push Senate to pull civil unions bill out of committee

by Larry Geller

Tomorrow a crucial vote in the Hawaii Legislature is expected, and you can weigh in and push legislators to do the right thing. See below for how. Tomorrow the Senate may pull HB444, the civil unions bill, out of committee for a full floor vote.

The campaign to recognize civil unions in Hawaii has become a religious war, with both sides mustering demonstrations at the State Capitol. Regardless of which side can turn out the most supporters, lawmakers should not base their decision on anyone’s interpretation of God’s will. Or in this case, God’s won’t. To crib the last few lines of the Martin Luther King Coalition Hawaii’s press release:

"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity."—Thomas Paine

This is a civil right issue, though the sharks are circling around. Not only do they threaten lawmakers with consequences for voting in favor of equal rights, they threaten to eat lawmakers who vote against their own particular religious dogma.

Our state legislature is capable of passing socially responsible legislation and has done so many times. To a large extent they are willing to bend with the wind, and in Hawaii the wind is usually liberal, socially responsible and progressive.

To bend them your way, email or call Senate leadership right away. Today (Tuesday) or early Wednesday morning. It is expected that a motion will be made on the Senate floor tomorrow morning to pull HB444 from committee, where it is stalled with a 3-3 vote. Your email, phone call or fax can help. Don’t wait, though.

You can reach all senators at email sens@capitol.hawaii.gov. In addition, you can send a message to Senate President Colleen Hanabusa at senhanabusa@Capitol.hawaii.gov, phone her at 808-586-7793 or fax her at 808-586-7797.

Send also to Senator Brian Taniguchi at  sentaniguchi@Capitol.hawaii.gov, or phone him at 808-586-6460 or fax him at 808-586-6461.

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