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Neil Abercrombie, The ‘Screw Your Religious Beliefs About Marriage’ Democrat for Hawaii Governor

Former Congressman Neil Abercrombie won Sunday’s Democratic nomination for governor of Hawaii, beating Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a 60-38 percent vote. The pro-marriage equality (and otherwise LGBT friendly) candidate in November faces off against Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, who wants to enact a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and was pleased when his boss Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed the legislature’s passage of a gay marriage bill.

Abercrombie, meanwhile, has made clear the rights of minorities have no room for the “religious persuasion” of voters — although back in 1998, while he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, he was in support of banning gay marriage via constitutional amendment.

He’s since changed his mind; in 2009 he co-sponsored a bill to repeal DOMA.

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  • Mike

    Does anyone else find it unusual that civil unions are always an issue in Hawaii no matter what office a candidate is running for? they’re only civil unions. Even the Republican nominee for governor in my state favors civil unions.

  • Ryan

    as a former resident of hawaii who was involved with getting the board of education to include lgbt in their protected status clauses, i can say that hawaii has one of the wierdest cultural views to homosexuality of any state I’ve been to. There is a very strong christian overtone to the islands that an outsider would never expect to find. The mormons are extremely active too.

  • Kalbo

    Abercrombie is highly favored to win in the general election and many (perhaps most; I haven’t pored over all of the results) of the lawmakers who backed civil unions at least won in their primaries.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see voters weren’t swayed to the right and overwhelmingly opted for the more liberal candidate in many races I thought would be close at best.

    State House Rep. Blake Oshiro, a gay man and the author of the CU law, beat out a Dem challenger strongly opposed to CUs who even went so far as to endorse the Republican candidate and now faces expulsion from the Dems — we’ll see how that translates in November, but it’s encouraging.

    I don’t want Utah-based values running the Aloha State! ^_^

  • OrchidIslander

    Hooray for my state! Finally, an entirely possible opportunity to break the repressive and bass ackwards lock that conservatives and right-wing religious leaders hold on Hawaii!

    Abercrombie’s upcoming Republican opponent, Duke Aiona, has the backing of many right-leaning religious leaders and he panders to them at every opportunity. He is dead set against Civil Unions and supports Defense of Marriage amendments. As Hawaii’s Republican Lieutenant Governor – he is trying to distance himself from our extremely unpopular and outgoing (Republican) governor, but he has ties that bind!

    Finally some form of rational moderation and a decrease in organized religion’s influence, in the state’s governance of this exquisite place, has never looked so in reach!

  • Jen


    “a Dem challenger strongly opposed to CUs who even went so far as to endorse the Republican candidate… now faces expulsion from the Dems”

    That’s the kind of backbone we need more of from the party.

    And there’s some serious ass-kicking rhetoric from Abercrombie! Nice jorb.

  • Paul in Honolulu

    There is absolutely NO chance that “Da Dook” Aiona, Reptilian candidate for the governorship, will ever beat Neil Abercombie. “Da Dook has the IQ of a house plant and is so driven by his born-again “Hawai`i-belongs-to-JESUS!” attitude that he will be flushed down the toilet in a washout by Abercrombie.

    Neil has categorically stated that, as governor, if he is presented with a civil unions bill akin to the one that closeted lesbian “Big Bird” Linda Lingle vetoed, he will sign it immediately. This is the kind of compassionate leadership our Hawai`i needs and with even a modicum of luck, we’ll see civil unions (if not outright same-sex marriage) legalized in less than two years under his leadership.

  • dave

    I was born and raised in Hawaii. I escaped at the age of 29. The number 2 poster Ryan is correct. Hawaii has a strange division in the local culture about homosexuality. There are some of the most fun flaming gays and no nonsense butch lesbians in Hawaii that I have ever seen anywhere among the gay community. As long as they don’t come out they are loved and accepted and their very obvious homosexuality is ignored and even celebrated in a peculiar way that one has to experience to understand. I truly hope that Mr Abercrombie is able to win over the majority of the populace and wins his race. But I’m not counting on it. One would think that after all the damage the missionaries did when they hit the shores of Hawaii, religion would not have such a death grip on Hawaii’s residents.

  • John (CA)

    Yes, the mixture of East Asian, Polynesian, and Western (Christian) influences has created an atmosphere towards homosexuality in Hawaii that’s quite different from the U.S. mainland.

    Which is, strangely, both good and bad.

    There’s very little homophobic violence in Hawaii. And LGBT people are tolerated well enough as long as they don’t ask for official recognition or acknowledgment. Eastern concepts of “saving face” are in play (i.e. if you do us the favor of staying in the closet, we will do you the favor of pretending you are just a happy bachelor). The sex part doesn’t matter so much to them. And you can even flaunt gender roles if you wish. What they care about is maintaining the facade of normalcy.

    Once you start openly campaigning for gay rights, however, then the gloves are off. Because they are no longer constrained by cultural taboos, they will use the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and what else is at their disposal – thanks to those adorable missionaries – to fight you. That’s when it starts getting nasty.

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