GOP House infighting over same-sex marriage bill
KHON: A resolution was introduced by Representative Bob McDermott to remove long-time Judiciary committee member Representative Cynthia Thielen -- the only Republican who supports marriage equality.
McDermott, a socially conservative Republican, wants Thielen replaced with Representative Richard Fale, a fellow socially conservative Republican, who opposes same-sex marriage.
Both McDermott and Thielen serve on the House Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hear SB 1, the "Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013" this Thursday. In order for the bill to survive the special session, it must be approved by the Judiciary committee. From there it would advance to a vote on the House floor.
McDermott also requested to have Thielen, a moderate Republican, removed as Vice Chair of the House's Energy & Environmental Protection committee.
In addition -- McDermott asked to have Representative Gene Ward instated as Minority Leader of the House-- a move which would replace current Minority Leader Representative Aaron Johanson.
The exchange between lawmakers on the floor was fiery.
At one point, Rep. Ward was called out of order by Speaker Joe Souki and challenged back, saying the Sergeant at Arms could "remove him if need be". Speaker Souki responded by immediately calling a recess.
Just prior to that, Rep. McDermott demanded the Minority Party give back their Vice Chair positions, calling them "polluted".
read ... Republican Infighting
Thielen: GOP Hijacked by Social Conservatives
PR: "I've been a mainstream Republican since college days. Social conservatives have hijacked our party to push their social agenda.
"I refuse to cave in to their demand to get off (the) Judiciary committee. As a Republican I support marriage equality and believe we should pass the bill now.
"Remember, Teddy Roosevelt created the national parks. Barry Goldwater supported gays in the military and was pro-choice. Then religion and people with social agendas took over. If our party ever will become relevant, we need mainstream members to fight for tolerance, for less government control over peoples' lives."
SA: Souki rejects GOP move to cut Thielen from panel
read ... Thielen
Resolutions Introduced by Rep Bob McDermott:
Fukumoto says McDermott’s reorganization request tried to make a point rather than a difference
News Release from Office of Rep Beth Fukumoto October 29, 2013
HONOLULU – Rep. Beth Fukumoto made the following statement today in response to statements regarding reorganization:
“I fully support the leadership of Representative Johanson despite our difference of opinion on the request to replace Representative Thielen on the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Johanson and I agree in our opposition to both the special session and the same-sex marriage bill.
“My decision to leave the floor today was in response to Representative McDermott’s insistence on destroying a legitimate strategy to restore balance in the public process and perpetuating politics as usual. I felt no need to be a part of the personal attacks or the purposeless and chaotic actions that do nothing to advance the cause of stopping the same-sex marriage bill or helping the Republican Caucus and the people we serve.
“I spoke with all Minority members prior to the floor session and told them that if we go through the proper procedure – an internal decision by the Minority Caucus in concurrence with House Rule 11.2 – I would support the idea of taking Representative Thielen off of the House Judiciary Committee and replacing her with Representative Fale. Thus far in this special session, the deck has been entirely stacked against the opponents of same-sex marriage, and it was my hope that we could help restore balance to the committee and the public process. Though it is an unusual move, it is not unprecedented. And considering the Majority Caucus’ decision to replace Representative Cabanilla with Representative Coffman on the committee – removing a “no” vote for a “yes” vote – I thought it was a valid strategy.
“Unfortunately, Representative McDermott decided to make this a political move, personally attacking other members of the body without reason in an effort to make a point rather than a difference. I could not support his mission to cause chaos without any effective purpose in sight.”
Rep. Johanson statement on Rep. McDermott reorganization request
News Release from Office of Rep Aaron Johanson October 29, 2013
HONOLULU – Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson made the following statement today in response to statements regarding reorganization:
“Representative McDermott and I both oppose same-sex marriage, but respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree with some of my fellow Republicans that giving up any official role within the House of Representatives is the best way to further our policy goals. This counterproductive strategy sends the wrong and untrue message that when Republicans don’t get exactly what we want, we cannot work with people in good faith and in a constructive manner to achieve our objectives.
“Rep. McDermott and I also disagree on the best way to oppose the issue of same-sex marriage. Removing Representative Thielen from the Judiciary Committee is not the only way to kill the bill.
“Hawaii Republicans have long valued the freedom to disagree respectfully; that respect should be given to each and every member. I oppose the Special Session because it denies people who disagree on this issue the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process. Similarly, I oppose removing Rep. Thielen from the House Judiciary Committee against her will because it denies her a say on a committee she has served on for years simply because she disagrees with me and the other members of the Minority Caucus on this issue.
“This may be considered politics as usual for others in the Capitol, but this is not what I consider good, effective and honest leadership.
“That said, I want to be clear that I oppose both the content of the bill and the Governor’s special session. The people of Hawaii deserve more time to be heard than this rushed session will allow on an issue of such importance. The people of Hawaii should be given the opportunity to decide on same-sex marriage once again.”
Garret Hashimoto 10-29-2013 from message to supporters:
"I was a spectator at the House special session and heard very heated arguments. Rep. McDermott called the special session a sham and called out Speaker Souki, saying the special session is a sham and an affront to the people of Hawaii. He also called for the removal of Cynthia Thielen, and supported by Reps. Fale, Ward, Oshiro, Jordan and Har. Reps. Ward and Har were silenced by Souki and Saiki. Reps. Johanson and Lee also spoke in opposition.
"Discussions on resolutions and bills will be resumed tomorrow at 10am. Vote on Thielen will also be held tomorrow....
"Rida Cabanilla was replaced from the Judiciary Committee with Danny Coffman, removing a No vote in Judiciary with a Yes vote. It makes our job harder to kill the bill in Judiciary."
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HR: Rep. Bob McDermott on support of liberal Democratic faction: 'We Were Played'
KHON: House lawmakers argue over same-sex marriage bill
KITV: Tempers flare over Republican infighting