With the fate of a same-sex civil unions bill up to a handful of State Senators, anti-marriage equality activists descended on the Capitol in Honolulu late Sunday to rally against House Bill 444, which would allow gays and lesbians to have most of the same rights as married couples, under the umbrella of civil unions. The number of protesters who turned out exceeded even the organizers estimates, but their reasons for denying their fellow citizens equal rights are few and far between: Jesus said so, Gays will destroy their families and Gays will destroy their churches.
Apologies for not being impressed by the mob of angry Christians, but based on the Honolulu Advertiser report of the rally, it seems not one of them has anything to offer other up than ignorant hate:
“Here, we’re just opening the door to social upheaval without taking into consideration the ramifications,” [Rep. Dennis Arakaki,] said. “They’d have equal access and equal rights to programs and our education system. They might even force churches to lend out their facilities.
“I just think it’s going to open up a Pandora’s box of legal suits because that’s what we’re doing: We’re giving them these rights and they’ll have a cause to sue,” he said. “We can accept the lifestyle, but we don’t want to institutionalize it.”
Demonstrators clad in bright red filled the first level of the Rotunda and spilled out across the surrounding lawns.
Some took up positions around the block, holding signs that read “No Civil Union,” “Destroy the Core of 444,” “We Sed No Already” and “Turn to Jesus or Burn in Hell.”
Most packed tight around a stage set up in the middle of the Rotunda, where leaders from several different faiths exhorted listeners to call their legislators and submit testimony in opposition to the bill.
Just as the crowd itself presented a mosaic of disparate religious beliefs, so too did the various religious leaders at the microphone demonstrate a myriad of rhetorical approaches.
New Hope executive pastor and former state judge Elwin Ahu took a slippery slope approach, warning the crowd that passage of the bill would mean that children in public schools would “no longer be able to hold on to the values they are taught at home.”
Deacon Walter Yoshimitsu, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai’i, read a message from Bishop Larry Silva (who is in Rome) to state Sen. Bunda in which Silva called the bill “a travesty to the democratic process” that “ignores the will of the people.”
Kuna Sepulveda, associate pastor of Word of Life Christian Center, worked the crowd with evangelical fire, and even reinterpreting the state motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono” (“the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”) as “The life of the land is perpetuated in godly righteousness” — a phrase she exhorted the crowd to repeat.
…Demonstrators shared stories, opinions and concerns with each other.
“This bill is an abomination,” said Judy Franklin, an associate with the Ministry of Brother Nathan Paikai. “It opens the door for innocent children in foster care to be taken into homosexual families — that’s one of my chief concerns.”
Nathan Paikai said he does not condemn homosexuals, but he doesn’t believe they should be able to enter into civil unions.
“I still have family that I pray will find the love of Jesus,” he said. “But now they’re trying to put their uncleanliness on me, and on my children, and on my children’s children. If they want to sin on themselves, if they want to do wrong, then do it on themselves.”
Why are conservatives constantly harping about the importance of personal responsibility and the strength of church and family, but the first to blame all their ills on gays and lesbians, who, in their eyes, could destroy the very fabric of society by, well- registering at Bed, Bath & Beyond?