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Thursday, October 10, 2013
Gay Marriage Debate Cancelled After Attempt to Stack Meeting Fails
By News Release @ 4:01 PM :: 7422 Views :: Family

Oct 8, 2013: EVENT CANCELLED  -- "Organizers from the University of Hawaii law school said there was a misunderstanding about whether the symposium would only focus on the religious exemption or whether other issues related to the bill would be discussed."

Gay Marriage Debate Cancelled After Attempt to Stack Meeting

PR October 10, 2013: ...A symposium on the religious exemption in a gay marriage bill that was scheduled for Wednesday evening at the state Capitol was cancelled. But James Hochberg, an attorney and president of Hawaii Family Advocates, who was supposed to be on the panel, showed up anyway.

Hochberg said he wanted to provide an explanation to people who might not have heard about the cancellation and came down to the Capitol. He answered questions about the religious exemption -- which he contends is inadequate -- for a handful of opponents of gay marriage in an otherwise empty Capitol auditorium.

The symposium was supposed to be moderated by Avi Soifer, the dean of the University of Hawaii law school.

Hochberg said he thought he was going to be on a panel with Lois Perrin, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. But when he learned that Andrea Freeman, a UH assistant law professor, was added to the panel, he said he asked for an addition of his own.

He said he proposed that Soifer, the moderator, had to alternate between one side and the other, so there was equal time....

He claimed organizers only wanted panelists to talk about the proposed religious exemption, not things he believes are missing from the draft....

read ... Cancelled

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Public Event Scheduled on Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions

News Release from UH School of Law

In light of the upcoming special legislative session scheduled to start on October 28, a symposium on the religious exemptions to the proposed marriage equity bill will be held on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at the Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium beginning at 5:30 p.m. The symposium will broadcast live on ‘Olelo channel 49.

Moderated by Avi Soifer, dean of the William S. Richardson School of Law, the panel discussion will describe the religious exemptions in the proposed marriage equity bill and will discuss possible amendments. The panel includes Andrea Freeman, assistant professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law; James Hochberg, attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom and president of Hawaii Family Advocates; and Lois Perrin, legal director of ACLU of Hawaii.

The proposed marriage equity bill and other materials are available at http://tinyurl.com/SSM-HI-2013. For information about this symposium, contact Marnelli Joy Basilio at lawevent@hawaii.edu.

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Political Radar Oct 4, 2013: List of Amendments

The Star-Adv Political Radar column October 4 on the Gay Marriage debate is written in a way designed to limit discussion over religious freedom to the amendments allegedly proposed by so-called ‘religious leaders’ (below). 

The claim that ‘religious leaders’ are proposing these amendments is most likely disinformation because the first of these so-called amendments would leave churches subject to public accommodations law (HRS 489) and both versions fall light-years short of the blanket protection of all religious institutions which 13 other states and Washington DC managed to write into their gay marriage laws.  Under either version, churches will find themselves ordered to abandon thousands of years of teachings on marriage and allow their facilities to perform gay ‘marriages.’

By writing in worthless weasel words about “profit” and “approved guests” the text is left wide open to ‘interpretation’ by biased gay-activist judges and Hawaii’s biased and mis-named Civil Rights Commission, already stacked with gay-activists.  Moreover, these laws provide no protection for church-operated social services and provide no protection for individuals right to reject participation in gay ‘marriage’ ceremonies.

All defenders of the First Amendment must vote to reject any of these so-called compromises.  All of them are designed to trample the First Amendment’s protection of the church from State control.  Based on the spectrum of alleged amendments presented by Political Radar, it appears that nobody on the pro-gay-‘marriage’ side is serious about protecting religious freedom.  Specifically, anybody who is attempting to “balance” the First Amendment against so-called equal protection requirements is a fraud writing a law designed to provide an excuse to re-write religion on government orders.

Here are other states’ religious freedom protections: First Amendment: 14 Gay Marriage Laws vs Abercrombie  

And here are the two pathetic proposed amendments (allegedly from ‘religious leaders’) according to Political Radar: 

One suggested amendment from religious leaders (differences to draft in bold):

§572-G Religious organizations and facilities; liability exemption under certain circumstances. a) A religious organization shall not be required to make a religious facility owned or leased by the religious organization available for solemnization of a particular marriage; provided that:
(1) The religious facility is regularly used by the religious organization for its religious purposes;
(2) For solemnization of marriages pursuant to this chapter, the religious organization restricts use of the religious facility and grounds to its members and approved guests; and
(3) The religious organization does not operate the religious facility primarily as a for-profit business.
(b) A religious organization that refuses to make a religious facility available for solemnization of a marriage under subsection (a) shall not be subject to any fine, penalty, or civil liability for the refusal.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to exempt the owner or operator of any religious facility from the requirements of chapter 489 if the religious facility is a place of public accommodation as defined in section 489-2 and is operated primarily for profit and not for ministry purposes.

Another suggested amendment from religious leaders (differences to draft in bold, subsection (c) removed):

§572-G Religious organizations and facilities; liability exemption under certain circumstances. a) A religious organization, whose primary use is for its sincere religious belief and not primarily used as a for-profit business, shall not be required to make a religious facility owned or leased by the religious organization available for solemnization of a particular marriage; provided that:
(1) The religious facility is regularly used by the religious organization for its religious purposes;
(2) For solemnization of marriages pursuant to this chapter, the religious organization restricts use of the religious facility to its members and approved guest; and
(3) The religious organization does not operate the religious facility primarily as a for-profit business.
(b) A religious organization that refuses to make a religious facility available for solemnization of a marriage under subsection (a) shall not be subject to any fine, penalty, injunction, administrative proceeding , or civil liability for the refusal.

Star-Adv Oct 4, 2013: Religious leaders walk a political tightrope: While determined to defeat the measure, they also want protections should it pass

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Shapiro: Advocates of gay marriage need be generous in victory

Shapiro Oct 6, 2013: In Hawaii, we still hear a few shrill warnings of immorality and destruction of the family, but many opponents see the writing on the wall and are focused on winning the strongest possible religious exemption to protect churches from having to participate in solemnizing marriages that are against their beliefs.

If gay marriage advocates are smart, they'll be generous in victory and join most of the 13 other states that have legalized same-sex marriage in providing a broad religious exemption.

Gay rights groups have a right to resent the intolerance shown by some churches in the marriage fight, but it would be a mistake to use their newfound political muscle to respond with similar intolerance toward constitutionally protected religious freedom.

"A majority of states recognize that same-sex marriage should not be a tool to dismantle people's religious beliefs," says Hawaii state Rep. Marcus Oshiro. "Tolerance … is a two-way street."

Of all the divisions that afflict our country, the religious divide is perhaps the most ominous, and from what we've learned in other troubled parts of the world, it has the most potential to become a shooting war if Americans can't learn to respect and accommodate our differences again.

Background: First Amendment: 14 Gay Marriage Laws vs Abercrombie

read ... Advocates of gay marriage need be generous in victory

House support for same-sex marriage in flux Over Religious Freedom

Star-Adv Oct 6, 2013:  A Star-Advertiser vote count, based on information from lawmakers and sources who have conducted their own internal surveys, puts support for gay marriage at 21 to 4 in the Senate. The vote count in the House is 27 to 17, with seven lawmakers undecided. Over the past several weeks, the newspaper's vote count in the House has fluctuated between 27 — just one more than the 26 votes needed for passage — to as high as 32 votes.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie took a political risk by calling the special session without an ironclad margin in the House. But several sources who have been privately counting votes believe the House will comfortably pass the bill if House leadership is able to answer concerns about the scope of a religious exemption for clergy and churches that do not want to host gay weddings.

Four of the seven House lawmakers who say they are undecided — Reps. Cindy Evans, Jo Jordan, Marcus Oshiro and Calvin Say — voted for civil unions in 2011. A fifth undecided lawmaker — Vice Speaker John Mizuno — voted against civil unions but says his opinion on gay marriage is evolving since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that legally married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits....

But some House lawmakers, who have to face voters every two years in districts where even small shifts in voting patterns can be meaningful, wonder whether enough of their constituents are ready for gay marriage.

The debate over a religious exemption in the bill has given some House Democrats political cover from talking about the underlying issue of whether gay couples should have the right to marry. That cover will likely be removed if gay-rights advocates in the party think House Democrats are using the religious exemption as a pretext to wriggle out of marriage equality.

Oshiro, the former House Finance Committee chairman, and Say, the former speaker, who were dethroned by a new House leadership coalition in January, have cited the religious exemption as the reason for their hesitation...their holding back has given others room for doubt....

Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Halawa-Aiea-Newtown), who voted against civil unions in 2011, said last week that he had just started to read through emails from the public....

Rep. Justin Woodson (D, Kahului-Wailuku-Puunene), who was appointed by Abercrombie in January to fill a House vacancy, said he is undecided but would strongly prefer that voters resolve the issue through a constitutional amendment....

Wavering House Democrats may tune out some of the more extreme warnings from opponents about the threats to society from gay marriage. But the lawmakers are listening to concerns about protecting religious freedom.

Undoing the House majority may rest on whether opponents can show House Democrats they are on the wrong side of their constituents, not 10 or 20 years from now, but today.

Background: First Amendment: 14 Gay Marriage Laws vs Abercrombie

read ... In Flux

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