Monday, January 18, 2010

Hawaii's Family Forum demonstrates against civil unions

Excerpts of Thousands rally against same-sex civil unions bill,
Thousands of people filled the state Capitol yesterday... with an explicit warning to state lawmakers to preserve marriage as between a man and a woman.

The rally, sponsored by the Hawai'i Family Forum

The state Senate is expected to consider a civil-unions bill soon after the session opens on Wednesday. The bill would give same-sex and heterosexual couples the ability to enter into civil unions and receive the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as marriage under state law.

Many at the rally yesterday made no distinction between civil unions and marriage, even though the bill does not redefine marriage, which under state law is between a man and a woman.

The rally was not designed as a platform for politicians, but two potential candidates for governor — Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann — addressed the crowd.

Hannemann, a Mormon, has declined to answer specific policy questions in the context of the governor's race because he has not formally decided to enter the primary. But he told the rally he wanted to make it clear he has consistently supported traditional marriage.

"I have never deviated from that position," he said. "I believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman."

Hannemann also spoke of the power of prayer and the influence "divine guidance" has on his decision-making as mayor. "I want to let you know, I pray for every decision that I make on your behalf," he said.

Cliff Arnold, a civilian security specialist at Schofield Barracks who lives in Salt Lake, said he came to stand for moral values and traditional marriage.

"It's the way God made it. It's always been traditional, and I don't think that should be subverted or changed," he said.

Arnold also attended the rally against civil unions last February and, like many, was disappointed that lawmakers are still considering the bill despite the displays of public opposition.

"To me, it's not right. Morally, it's not right," he said of civil unions. "We were actually hoping we wouldn't have to come out here again."

Deborah Perkins, a nanny who lives in Red Hill and whose husband is an Army chaplain, said she came with people from her church.

"We're just trying to do what the Scripture says," she said.

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