Pro-family activism that makes a difference!

Unprecedented outpouring: Over 1,000 Hawaiian citizens testify at massive State House public hearing on "gay marriage" bill. Five days of testimony. Ninety percent opposed!

Immediately after testimony ends: Committee ignores overwhelming testimony, votes 18 to 12 to move bill to full House. Insulting comments by committee members.

POSTED: November 12, 2013

On Oct. 31 people from across Hawaii flooded to the public hearing before the Judicial and Financial Committees of the Hawaii House of Representatives at the State House in Honolulu to voice their opposition to the "gay marriage" bill that many say is being railroaded through in a special session. Earlier that day an estimated ten thousand people rallied outside the State House against the bill.

For five days people filled the halls of the Hawaii State House waiting for their turn.

It was by many accounts the largest public hearing in Hawaiian history. Over the five days of testimony over 1,000 people testified before the committee. A total of 5,184 people had registered to testify, but most could not wait for several days before being called. More than 24,000 written testimonies were submitted. Approximately 90% of the testimony was against the bill.

It was at least 10 times as big as any "gay marriage" State House public hearing we've seen in the U.S.

Unusual outpouring of passion by regular citizens

This was a truly unbelievable show of civic passion. Hawaii is often rated last in America in voting and political participation. But the outrage across the state from Hawaii citizens against "gay marriage" is greater than anything we've ever seen.

(Note: This report includes exclusive photos taken by local Hawaii activists for MassResistance.)

Night and day, people camped in the State House atrium.

People came from the various Hawaiian islands to Oahu and often waited for days to testify, often at great expense and personal sacrifice. The fact that they could only testify for two minutes each did not deter them. Schoolchildren missed school to testify against it. There were reports of people being fired from their jobs for taking the time off. People got their cars towed. Crowds of people sat in the halls of the State House and in the courtyard outside night and day waiting for their turn to speak. It appeared that the overwhelming majority had never testified at a public hearing before.

Folks slept anywhere they could waiting for their numbers to be called.

In fact, an unusually large percentage of the testifiers were young people - students and young adults - who were visibly fearful and upset at how the imposition of "gay marriage" on society would affect them and their future children.

Brought together by churches, groups, and activists

Unlike with the homosexuals, there was no (well-funded) single statewide group organizing people. Instead, individual churches, pro-family groups, and some outstanding activists worked in concert with each other. They used social media heavily. They kept citizens across Hawaii notified, and helped them at every step.

As expected, people talked about religious values and God's law, the confusion "gay marriage" pushes on children and families, how unnatural the concept itself is, the chilling effect on people's First Amendment religious freedoms, the horrible medical dangers of homosexuality, the radical homosexual agenda in the schools, and other obvious problems.

On the streets outside the State House at night during the five-day hearing.

How bad is this bill? Here's what else people are mad about:

But a large part of the outrage that people of all ages and backgrounds complained about was the contents of the bill and the process being used to push it through. It seemed to reflect a sense of arrogance and lack of transparency by the liberal politicians who appeared to be interested only in pleasing a special interest group.

Some of the problems include:

Bait and switch. Back in August the Governor unveiled his "gay marriage" bill for the upcoming special session. But a few days before the Senate hearing, the Governor substituted a different version that, among other things, drastically changed the rules for religious exemptions. It took people by surprise, allowing no time to study its ramifications.

Unconstitutional. In 1998 the people of Hawaii voted for a constitutional amendment that they understood banned "gay marriage." The Legislature seems to be using an unusual interpretation of that law to create "gay marriage" anyway.

Let the people vote. People want to vote on this just as they did with the constitutional amendment, and not have 76 elected officials decide this for 1.4 million people. But the legislature is completely ignoring that.

Being rushed through in special session. People think a bill of this magnitude should go through the normal legislative process during a regular session. Instead, it is being rushed as fast as possible during a special session.

No second hearing after amendments. Normally, when a bill is amended there is a second public hearing to discuss the amendments. They are simply skipping that step.

Language is unclear and vague - "let the courts decide later on." Even the Attorney General admitted, when questioned by legislators, that he wasn't sure what certain parts of the bill meant or how they would be enforced. People were told that the legislature should just pass it and let the courts sort through it later on. Terms like "for profit" and "religious education" are ambiguous.

VIDEO: Watch Hawaii State Attorney General dodge and weave when asked by Committee about "gay marriage" bill provisions. (3:07)

Extremely narrow religious protections. The so-called religious protections only apply to a narrow (and not completely defined) group of churches and non-profits in certain circumstances. Regular citizens with religious beliefs have no protections at all.

Different rules for homosexuals than for regular people. The biggest issue in the bill involves how divorce applies.

Emphasis on getting government benefits. The governor even said that his biggest reason for pushing this so fast involved "free" government benefits.

Legislative leaders' minds are made up. The liberals who control the State House showed no signs that anything anyone says will change their minds from forcing so-called "marriage equality" on the people of the state against their will. On the contrary, many of them were particularly hostile and nasty in the way they consider pro-family people to be simply ignorant and backward.

See article in Hawaii Reporter website on more problems with the bill.

Sample testimony - people not backing down

But the people weren't backing down at all.

Over the five days the hearing lasted, the testimony was streamed live over the Internet. We had a chance to watch a lot of it. We've been to "gay marriage" public hearings in several states. This testimony was unusually good. Most of it was clear, hard-hitting, and to the point. Maybe it was the strictly enforced two-minute time limit that forced people to pull it together, along with the interminably long wait to speak. Here are a few short videos of the testimony.

VIDEO: This native Hawaiian expressed the raw outrage that many people across the state have over this. (2:08)

VIDEO: Public school teacher, strongly against the bill, doubts the integrity of the committee. (2:10)

VIDEO: Researcher tells what happened in Massachusetts, and describes the uncomfortable truth about homosexuality and transgenderism. (2:17)

VIDEO: Woman talks about danger of small radical minority holding so much power over citizens. Says: "We will not be silent!" (1:35)

VIDEO: Wedding planner talks about how she will be forced out of business if "gay marriage" becomes law. (3:44)

VIDEO: Very direct: Tito Montes, head of Hawaii Republican Assembly, pulls no punches in his testimony! (1:29)

Head of Hawaii Police Union testifies against bill in strongest terms!

In most places we've observed across the country, police departments long ago caved in on the homosexual issue. It's no longer unusual to see police marching in "gay pride" parades and being demonstrably anti-family in their actions.

But in Hawaii, the president of the Hawaii Police Union testified against the "gay marriage" bill in the strongest possible terms. Honolulu police officer Tenari Maafala, also the union president told the committee:

The day I retire and bills like this are introduced, I will never, ever honor such law. You would have to kill me to disrespect and dishonor my Father in heaven. You would have to kill me to impose these types of laws upon my children and my neices and my nephews.

As you could imagine, the mainstream media as far away as New York City went apoplectic. But his position is fairly common among Hawaiians. (Note that the newspaper article conveniently leaves out "The day I retire.")

Hawaii police officer and police union president Tenari Maafala testifies before committee.

Open arrogance and hostility by House Judicial Committee chairman

As time went on, it didn't take much imagination to see that the committee chairmen were getting impatient at the "impertinence" of the public and particularly their open distrust of the political process. Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Rep. Sylvia Luke, chairman of the Finance Committee, ran the meeting. Rhoads was particularly outspoken in reacting to many of the testifiers.

Committee chairmen Rep. Sylvia Luke and Rep. Karl Rhoads.

Rhoads was clearly annoyed at having to sit and listen to citizens for so long. Rhoads told the Wall Street Journal that a lottery system might be considered in the future as a way of limiting testimony at high-profile hearings. He added that it may be necessary to rethink how such hearings on contentious issues are conducted. "Everybody is just exhausted," he said. "At some point, it is just not very enlightening, when you have heard the argument multiple, multiple times already." (This sounds to us like a legislator who needs a different occupation.)

VIDEO -Excellent! When the chairman, Rep. Karl Rhoads arrogantly demeaned her concerns, this young woman held her ground -- and stood up to him brilliantly! (5:20)

Liberals demean testimony as "citizens' filibuster"

In addition, the liberal establishment bashed the thousand people who came to testify as purposely wasting the committee's time, calling their efforts to testify a "citizens' filibuster." This demeaning phrase showed up in newspapers in Hawaii and across the country. As the Wall Street Journal article observed,

Some observers dubbed the parade of two-minute-maximum addresses a "citizens' filibuster."

Neal Milner, a political-science professor at the University of Hawaii, said foes of same-sex marriage had focused on the House hearing as a kind of last stand, hoping to sway House members, who are up for election more often than colleagues in the Senate.

"It is, in a sense, a form of political protest. It is essentially like blocking the school door or sitting in the governor's office," Mr. Milner said of the lineups of speakers.

We couldn't disagree more. Unfortunately for everyone, the liberal elites controlling things simply don't get it, and probably never will.

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2. Immediately after testimony ends: Committee ignores overwhelming testimony, votes 18 to 12 to move bill to full House. Insulting comments by committee members.

There had been hope that the committee would be swayed by the outpouring from across the state. But it was almost as if there had been no hearing at all. The joint Judicial and Finance Committee is controlled by liberal Democrats, and their actions certainly reflected that.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, when the five days of testimony (including over 24,000 pages of written testimony that was submitted) on the "gay marriage" bill finally finished, the committee barely skipped a beat. They took a short two-hour recess and then came right back into the hearing room.

There was virtually no opportunity to reflect on the testimony they had heard, talk to legal experts, or read the written testimony that had been submitted.

Committee passes bill with minor amendments

Rep. Karl Rhoads, the Judicial Committee chairman didn't waste any time. He announced that the committee had decided to approve the bill, with three amendments, and was sending it to the full House.

The committee's three amendments seem to be fairly minor.

1. Supposedly strengthening the religious exemption law to be like Connecticut's (though there is some disagreement whether it actually does that). It protects churches and non-profits if they refuse to perform a same-sex wedding. But it does not clearly offer protection for other related issues, such as rental of facilities, wedding planning, wedding cake baking, photography -- or non-related issues such as baptisms or burials, etc.

2. Removing an obscure section of the text regarding presumption of parentage that was not pertinent to the intent of the bill.

3. Moving date the bill would take effect forward to Dec. 2, to give Hawaii Dept. or Health more time to get ready for the "gay marriages."

Committee members' comments show disconnect from the people

Rep. Rhoads then invited committee members to comment on their positions -- after five days of testimony. This was the most interesting -- and in some ways very disturbing.

No further amendments allowed. Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican who opposes the bill, spoke first. He made a motion to amend the bill in a way that the leadership did not approve. Rhoads flatly refused to allow the amendment to be heard or voted on, despite McDermott's protestations that it was within the rules. McDermott simply brushed him off and called on the next person.

Here are some other comments from the committee members that emphasize the disconnect that most of the legislators have from the citizens of Hawaii. After 57 hours of testimony, nothing much changed:

"This bill does not re-define God or the Bible's idea of marriage. It re-adjusts the State of Hawaii's definition of marriage. Marriage is a concept that societies have re-defined for millennia."

"I believe that we as Christians will begin to realize that homosexuality is rooted in natural law, just as God's law is. I believe that if the writers of the Biblical texts had the knowledge that we do today homosexuality would not be viewed as something you can simply repent from."

"I have never wavered in my support for equality. . . .I feel obligated and very proud to vote yes."

"I intrepret the right to pursue happiness as giving gay couples the right to marry if they wish."

"For me it's always been an issue of equality."

"This bill has always been a bill about freedom for me."

These two committee members tried to talk some sense into the majority, but were unsuccessful:

"I'm very disappointed that you've changed the rules of amendments. As you've seen, I've stood up and I've given three amendments ... That has not been able to be heard because of the overruling of the chairs, which I think is probably illegal ..."

"I am sad because of all the people who came here and felt betrayed by the government because there was no transparency ... We haven't looked at the unintended consequenses ... We haven't given the time just to absorb this issue ... I have to vote no because of the process. I got threatened [by the LGBT community], shame on you for doing that."

Is there any question why people are so outraged? In the end, the vote was 18 to 12. The establishment liberals never wavered.

Let the people vote? Not even considered

There was no discussion by those controlling the committee about letting the people vote on this issue, even though that was probably the single most discussed issue -- and most emotional -- in the testimony.

Nor was there any consideration by the leadership about the expedited (some would say railroaded) process of pushing through this bill as fast as possible.

The liberals running the committee clearly considered themselves to be much more enlightened that the "rabble" that they had to endure for five days. And they were more determined than ever that something as "important" as this cannot be trusted mere citizens.

It's something that's being experienced across America, but after all that outpouring from so many people, this seemed more of a blow than the usual.

3. Coming up: Report on full vote in House and Senate, and our analysis.

On Friday, November 8
after 12 hours of sometimes raucous debate, the House passed the bill by 30 to 18. Thus, the homosexual lobby had picked up a solid number of votes over the last few weeks.

As we write this, the Senate is planning to vote on it on Tuesday, Nov. 12. It's expected to pass there fairly easily, according to news reports.

In our next email we'll report on the final votes. We'll also have the reactions of the pro-family community in Hawaii, and where they go from here.

And we'll have an analysis of what happened in Hawaii -- and why.