State representatives that supported same-sex marriage during the 2013 special session apparently ARE concerned with how they are viewed by people of faith. A peculiar bill (HB2539) has surfaced at the Legislature and is scheduled to be heard before the House Judiciary Committee today (Friday, January 31st, 2014). The bill states:
The purpose of this Act is to remember Saint Marianne Cope for her charitable works, virtuous deeds, and enduring legacy in Hawaii, and to mark her feast day, January 23, as Saint Marianne Cope Day in Hawaii.
The list of bill sponsors includes:
|Rep. Della Belatti
Rep. Tom Brower
Rep. Rida Cabanilla
Rep. Mele Carroll
Rep. Faye Hanohano
Rep. Kaniela Ing
Rep. Bert Kobayashi
|Rep. Nicole Lowen
Rep. Angus McKelvey
Rep. John Mizuno
Rep. Dee Morikawa
Rep. Scott Nishimoto
Rep. Takashi Ohno
|Rep. Karl Rhoads
House Majority Leader Scott Saiki
House Speaker Joe Souki
Rep. Mark Takai
Rep. Gene Ward
Rep. Justin Woodson
This bill was introduced (almost) exclusively by individuals who voted “yes” on SB1 during the 2013 special session – or in the case of Rida Cabanilla, did not vote. The exceptions to this include Mele Carroll, Gene Ward and Justin Woodson. Missing from this list were the strongest and most vocal supporters of people of faith – Rep. Richard Fale, Rep. Sharon Har, Rep. Jo Jordan, Rep. Bob McDermott and Rep. Marcus Oshiro.
It was House Speaker Joe Souki who said in his opening remarks to the 2014 legislative session:
And so now it is time to put all of that behind us and to move forward. More importantly, we need to help our people heal in the spirit of aloha and ohana that has always guided this community. How do we do that? To me, the best way is to lead by example—to come together, as one House, to help our citizens provide a better life for themselves and their children. That is the way we’ve always done it. That’s the aloha way. [emphasis added]
The obvious exclusion of certain representatives in the introduction of this bill makes it clear that secular leaders in the House of Representatives are not interested in healing divisions. Rather than making an honest attempt to recognize the contributions of St. Marianne Cope to the State of Hawaii, the secular House Leadership (Saiki, Souki, Rhoads and Takai) created another political pawn to secure more votes from the faith-based community that they alienated during the 2013 special session.
Should same-sex marriage supporters genuinely wish to support people of faith, they would spend their time ensuring more substantive legislation like HB1624 receives a hearing and advances through the House.