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Lines Drawn Over Civil Unions Bill

February 17, 2009

Written by Jim Mendoza

Before the sun came up they were there waving and waving signs. The lineup of about a dozen people along Farrington Highway was a small section of a larger group who say no to civil unions.

Alan Spector's one of many who say yes. "Gay people are moral just like straight people are," he said.

Spector co-chairs the Family Equality Coalition. The organization has endorsements from unions, clergy, and organizations who want to see House Bill 444 become law.

"This is about civil rights and equality and insuring that all families and all couples and all children are treated equally under Hawaii's civil laws," he said.

The bill passed the House. It's now in the Senate. It calls for giving same-sex partners rights only heterosexual spouses share.

"The homosexual activist community, what they they're looking for is a trophy to put on their mantle," Sen. Mike Gabbard said.

Gabbard fought against same-sex marriage in 1998. He said civil union is same-sex marriage in disguise.

"What you do in the privacy of your bedroom, that's your business," he said. "When you start teaching to our keiki that these relationships are on equal basis as heterosexual marriage then we're opposed to it."

Spector and his partner received a civil union certificate in Vermont. In Hawaii they receive reciprocal benefits. Spector says it's inadequate.

"Yes. I do want same-sex marriage in the state of Hawaii. But that day will come when the public is ready for it and when the legislature is ready to give it to us," he said.

There are churches who pray that day never comes.

"It'll lead to total confusion. You need to have certain definite things that don't change and one is traditional marriage," said Elwin Ahu, executive pastor at New Hope Christian Fellowship.

"This really isn't about religion. It's about civil law," Spector said.

Right now it's about civil unions and what the Senate will do House Bill 444.

  Mike Gabbard - State Senate| P.O. Box 75480 Kapolei, Hawaii 96707
Phone: (808) 682-0676 | Fax:(808) 682-2591 | E-mail: mike@mikegabbard.com