Growing List of Local Businesses Endorse Marriage Equality in Hawaii

October 23, 2013

For Immediate Release

Honolulu, HI – More than 200 Hawaii businesses are urging state lawmakers to pass a marriage equality measure during next week’s special session.

The number of local businesses supporting same sex marriage in Hawaii has more than tripled in a month’s time. Last month, the number stood at 60.

For a full list of the Hawaii businesses in support of marriage equality go to: (

“Besides being on the right side of history, marriage equality will bring phenomenal commerce to the business and residents of all Hawaiian islands,” said Chuck Spence, owner of Maui Sunseekers.

A Maui architecture firm agreed. “Changing Hawaii’s law to include a segment of people who have lovingly paired together, but are denied their human right to marry, is the correct action for Hawaii. This change in the law will benefit the state of Hawaii in numerous ways,” said Gerald Ashton Westerberg, co-owner of Design Response.

“We have over 200 employees and want all of them and their families to have equal protection and the responsibilities that marriage offers. It’s just the right thing to do,” said Scott Dodd, owner of Tasty Ventures in Kailua-Kona.

“I support marriage equality as a father and business owner in Hawaii. I often ask myself what kind of world I want my daughter to live in. As a human, I want respect, dignity and fairness. These values are elemental to my being. They are also the values I want my young daughter to experience and develop. It seems quite self-evident that to live these values, we must live in a society where we afford respect, dignity and fairness to all. This includes everyone, from those who share my lifestyle, faith and sexual preference and those who do not. We cannot apply these values selectively. As an owner of a marketing business in Hawaii who has numerous clients in the tourism and hospitality sectors supporting marriage equality is a wise business decision. More tourism and weddings create more commerce. I have spoken with many of my clients about the new opportunities marriage equality will bring to Hawaii. The Hawaii business community overwhelmingly looks forward to the new opportunities,” said Brian Asbjornson, owner of Kona Impact.

Hawaii United for Marriage welcomed the support.

“We applaud and welcome our business partners who have the courage to take a stand on one of the most important social issues facing our community,” said Jacce Mikulanec, board member of the Japanese American Citizens League-Honolulu and a founding member of Hawaii United for Marriage. “They understand and embrace the fact that marriage equality is all about fairness and respect for all.”

The endorsements from the business groups come five days before the Legislature convenes in a special session to debate and vote on a bill legalizing same sex marriage.

Lawmakers supporting marriage equality say the tripling in business support in such a short period is welcome news, and complements the support from labor organizations, faith-based leaders, Governor Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii’s Congressional delegation.

“Now it’s up to the Legislature,” said Rep. Chris Lee, D-51st. “As policy makers, these are the moments for which we are elected, and I am confident that we will do the right thing and approve marriage equality. I am also convinced that in a few short years, most people will wonder what all the controversy was about.”

Hawaii United for Marriage is a statewide coalition of religious congregations, businesses, labor unions and community organizations.

More information is available at

Jim McCoy