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Civil Union Veto Hawaii

Gay activists not in favor of boycotting Hawaii

Juergen T. Steinmetz, eTN  Jul 15, 2010

Did Hawaii Governor Lingle orchestrate a Christian rally supporting her veto of the State Civil Union bill?

On his regularly-scheduled radio show, The Carroll Cox Show, Human Rights Advocate Carroll Cox revealed the details of his allegations that Hawaii Republican Governor, Linda Lingle helped orchestrate a large, organized group of Zealot Christians assembled at the State Capitol - before, during, and after her long-awaited press conference on July 6, 2010, where she announced her veto of HB444, Hawaii Civil Union legislation. After three tumultuous years, the hard-won bill was finally passed by the Democrat-dominated Hawaii Legislature during their 2010 Session.

Governor Lingle, oft-alleged a Lesbian, explained she was partly motivated to veto the bill because of what she described as the majority Democratic Party misleading the public on the status of the bill while resorting to political tactics. Carroll Cox said, "We find the Governor's statements regarding the bill's status, and government openness/fairness to the citizens of this state, to be disingenuous. In fact, Lingle herself resorted to underhanded tactics. Prior to making her declaration, Lingle set into motion a series of actions that did the opposite of what she was preaching.

Governor Lingle expressed concerns that the public was left out of the process, and proclaimed that the public should be afforded an opportunity to participate in the process. "It deserves to be decided directly by all the people of Hawaii," and "after listening to those both for and against HB444, I have gained a new appreciation for just how deeply people of all ages and backgrounds feel on this matter, and how significantly they believe the issue will affect their lives." She then proposed that a Constitutional amendment be enacted to assure public participation.

Cox stated in his radio show: "We find the Governor's statements regarding the bill's status, and government openess/fairness to the citizens of this state, to be disingenuous. In fact, Lingle herself resorted to underhanded tactics. Prior to making her declaration, Lingle set into motion a series of actions that did the opposite of what she was preaching.

"First, Lingle required the group 'Equality Hawaii' to obtain a Special Use Permit to hold a rally at the Capitol building and surrounding area on June 6, the day she was to make her announcement. The group was also required to provide proof of liability insurance for the event. The permit language specified that the area to be used by the Permittee, "Equality Hawaii," was the Capitol Rotunda and areas around the Damien and Queen Liliuokalani statues, and the public sidewalk for sign waving. The permit also allowed one to four hundred (1-400) people to participate in the rally.

"Equality Hawaii complied with the permit requirements but was prevented from enjoying the full conditions of their permit because Lingle, through the Sheriff's Office, allowed Francis Oda (of Hawaii Family Forum, Hawaii Transformation Network, and Hawaiian Island Ministries), Dennis Arakaki, other church pastors, and hundreds of church members and associates to congregate in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, near the Queen's statue, without obtaining a Special Use Permit. The Governor, via the Sheriff's Office, allowed a gathering of 200 or more non-permitted protesters to rally on various levels of the Capitol building. Eventually the majority of them found their way to the Capitol's 5th Floor and proceeded to march around, singing religious hymns and praying aloud. This behavior was accompanied by loud clapping, dancing, and the blowing of at least two ram's horns for several hours. However, the permitted rallyers were not allowed upstairs. They were turned away by the sheriffs, even while the sheriffs permitted and escorted hundreds of the non-permitted anti-gay rallyers, led by Francis Oda, upstairs to the 5th floor Governor's office where they sang, prayed, and chanted.

"At approximately 1:00 pm, I overheard Francis Oda telling a number of people, including pastors Elwin Ahu and Kahu Kekuna, that the Governor would be meeting with a few chosen pastors (including himself) in her office at about 2:45 pm for a special prayer meeting. Then, at 3:00 pm, she would invite chosen media to come in when she announced her decision on HB444. Oda suggested the pastors tell their people to go get something to eat and return before 3:00 pm to hear the Governor's announcement. He also told the pastors to remind their members to refrain from celebrating aloud when the Governor announced her decision. Some of the pastors proceeded to instruct their followers to leave, then return to the 5th Floor as recommended by Oda.

"During the time Oda was making his announcement I also observed pastor Cal Chinen standing around the entrance to the Governor's office. At approximately 2:45 pm, I observed Oda and at least two other pastors approach the entrance to the Governor's office where they were met by the Governor's security staff. The security staff asked their names, checked with someone inside the office and returned to the entrance to tell them their names were on the list. They were then invited inside. Cal Chinen of Hawaii Transformation Network, and other pastors, were not allowed in.

"I noted that a number of individuals were refused entry and told that their names were not on the special invitee's list. I also asked permission to enter the Governor's office and was told that my name was not on the special invitee's list. I was refused entry.

"At approximately 3:00 pm, I observed some members of the press and other 'special invitees' enter the Governor's office. A short time later, one of the pastors received a telephone call and yelled, 'She vetoed it.' The non-permitted rallyers broke out in screams, shouts, dancing, and praying. This went on for about 15 minutes.

"We ask you, why is it that the people who came to the Capitol building in support of the gay community and HB444 were required to obtain a Special Use Permit and proof of liability insurance in order to participate in a rally, but the pastors, church members, and those rallying against the civil rights legislation were not similarly required to obtain the necessary permits? And, why is it that certain people were invited to a special prayer meeting inside the Governor’s office, but others were excluded?

"This is why we find the Governor’s statements regarding her veto to be completely disingenuous. How can Lingle say that the public should be afforded an opportunity 'to participate in the process,' when she denied certain people the same opportunities, including attending a prayer meeting at her office prior to her announcement regarding the veto of HB444, and being included on a special invitee’s list?"

In reality, the long, bitter struggle for Civil Unions in the United States originated in Hawaii in December of 1990. A history and time line is at .

The long saga culminated nationally when in 1996, President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, signed the ‚ÄúDefense of Marriage Act‚ÄĚ (DOMA) - which was coincidentally overturned on July 8, 2010, in Boston by US District Judge Joseph Tauro. Tauro ruled in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to DOMA. The case is expected to go to the US Supreme Court for final resolution.

Seventy-year-old Honolulu political strategist, Scott Foster, said, "Carroll Cox makes some startling revelations and many of his assertions, photographs, videos, and recordings are posted on his web site at . Perhaps the most frightening are his photos of the zealot Christians 'rejoicing' over the veto .
This is not a pretty face to be showing to the world." Foster's personal history with the issue is at .

ETurboNews checked with the Governor’s office and the licensing department. Repeat phone calls and emails were not responded to.

Hawaii Tourism could face a possible boycott over Governor Lingle's veto on HB444. Hawaii Tourism fears that gay rights supporters from other parts of United States will boycott the state over the decision.

Social networking sites are flooded with protests and anger against the decision. Gay activists are asking people not to travel Hawaii in protest against the decision. Hawaii tourism understands the outcome of the HB444 veto. The gay tourism industry is worth US$60 Billion in United States and Hawaii is going to face a boycott from it.

However, some gay activists are not in favor of boycotting Hawaii.

Gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie attended the 36th birthday celebration at Hula’s on July 9. Hula’s is Honolulu’s oldest gay bar. Abercombie said:

“Governor Lingle has made her choice and the Legislature has said it will not go back into a special session for any veto overrides. HB444 was not a same-sex marriage bill. The State Legislature has already defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Civil unions respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha.

“Now, it will be up to the next Governor and Legislature to ensure that all people of Hawaii receive equal treatment. Protecting people’s civil rights cannot be compromised. I am committed to that most essential of constitutional imperatives."

Neil Abercombie responded to eTurboNews about a proposed tourism boycott.
‚ÄúA boycott will hurt the people of Hawaii. I do not support a boycott and appeal to the gay community not to support it.‚ÄĚ

Some believe that Hawaii will face an immediate boycott from the gay community but only for the short term. Things will come back to normal in the future.

Since the veto, people are making calls to the Governor's office threatening not to visit Hawaii in the future. Governor Lingle's receptionist Kaui Alapa said:

"Some of the callers used a word the state's tourism industry doesn't want to hear. There’s a good portion of them that were planning on vacationing here, but because of the veto, they will cancel their vacations and spread the word to their friends to boycott Hawaii."

Hawaii tourism is very concerned over people's statements on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter vowing to fight back by hitting Hawaii's no. 1 industry - tourism.

The Governor‚Äôs tourism liaison, Marsha Wienert, explained to eTurboNews, ‚ÄúThe Hawaii Tourism Authority is prepared to respond and has the funds to do so.‚ÄĚ

Gay activists not in favor of boycotting Hawaii
Capitol, Hawaii, July 6, 2010

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