Hundreds of University of Hawaii Students Sign Petition In Favor of Marriage Equality

October 24, 2013

Honolulu, HI.  Students at the University of Hawaii have organized a petition drive in favor of marriage equality.

More than 400 students have signed up at the Manoa Campus Center and the list is growing daily.

Students said they were inspired to take action as their student government debated the pros and cons of a marriage equality measure that the State Legislature will be debating during a special session next week.

“We feel strongly that a vote against equality would be a terrible message for a state that prides itself on diversity and the aloha spirit,” said Jeremy Divinagracia, a student assistant for the LGBT Student Services.

UH junior Britney Manley said allowing gay couples to marry is long overdue.

“Most of my fellow students frankly wonder what all the controversy is about.  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, the vast majority of my generation favors equality, other states are leading the way, it’s time for Hawaii to catch up,” Manley said.

“I look forward to the day where marriage is all about LOVE, and the pursuit of happiness.  Where people are not judged by the person they choose to love, or date, or be intimate with,” said Russ Pederson, UH Grad student.

The students researched the 1998 constitutional amendment and say those who now say “let the people decide” have a general misunderstanding of that amendment.“

“The State Constitution doesn’t define marriage, it requires the Legislature to define marriage.  The Legislature made the wrong decision 15 years ago in saying marriage can only be between a man and a woman, and now it’s time for them to make things right,”  said Camaron Miyamoto, Coordinator, LGBT Student Services, UH Manoa.

“The topic of marriage equality in the State of Hawaii is an important issue.  That is why ASUH voted to support the special session, so that the concerns of the community at large can be heard and incorporated into the discussion on how to move forward with this sensitive matter,” said Richard Mizusawa, ASUH President.

“The institution of marriage has implications beyond its symbolic union,” said Brenden Burk, ASUH senator. “Expanding marriage equality is about more than just two people joining in union, it is about the expansion of civil benefits and legal recognition in the eyes of the law.  And it is the express duty of the Legislature to do its due diligence of debating an issue that has huge implications for our fair state.”

The students were joined by two lawmakers who have been leading proponents of marriage equality.

“It’s heartening that this generation is taking a stand and agreeing that in Hawaii, all love counts,” said Rep. Chris Lee (D-51st District).  “We plan to take that message to the Capitol next week and hope that as elected leaders, we come together and do the right thing.”

Rep. Della Au Belatti was inspired by the students’ action, and looks forward to casting her vote during the historic special session.

“I urge all my colleagues to listen to this generation of citizens and their message in support of marriage equality.  The ease with which they embrace all people with respect and aloha is an example for all of us to follow,” Belatti said.

Hawaii United for Marriage is a statewide coalition of religious congregations, businesses, labor unions and community organizations.  More information is available at  www.HawaiiUnited.org

Contact:

Jim McCoy/808-282-3440

Jim27mccoy@gmail.com