Open letter to the Hawaii Legislature from Hawaii United for MarriageFebruary 7, 2013
Dear Representatives and Senators:
We ask that you hear – and pass – HB1109 (and/or companion bill SB1369), providing for marriage equality.
Hawaii has always been a leader on issues of equality for all: the Aloha State has been a model for the nation from the rights of workers, to equality for women, to acknowledging aboriginal culture. Hawaii’s rich and longstanding history of striving for equality has always included political leaders who embraced change and demonstrated courage.
In a state defined by its diversity and aloha, it is time to consider – and pass – a marriage equality bill.
Over the past twenty years, Hawaii – and the entire nation – has seen an overwhelming shift in public attitudes towards our gay and lesbian friends and family members. A strong and clear majority of Hawaii voters support marriage equality. Our entire Congressional Delegation supports marriage equality. Our Governor supports marriage equality. And the President of the United States announced his support for marriage equality before being elected to a second term. Younger voters in particular are even stronger in their support for equality – and even if they didn’t vote in 2010 or 2012, more and more of them will vote in 2014 and 2016.
A majority of our elected representatives are already on record as supporting marriage equality. Of the 51 members of the Hawaii House of Representatives, a majority have stated publicly that they would vote for marriage equality. Of the 25 members of the Hawaii Senate, a majority have stated publicly that they would vote for marriage equality. However, the Legislature has yet to schedule a public hearing on this important issue. This delay means the legislation could stall early next week due to procedural deadlines. While there may be strong feelings on all sides of this issue, and there may be some lawmakers who would prefer that this proposal die a quiet death, our State benefits from robust, civil debate on issues of public concern. To delay action on marriage equality would be an abdication of leadership that the voters entrust in our lawmakers
The reasons to pass marriage equality are clear:
- 55% of Hawaii’s voters support marriage equality.
- No member of anyone’s family – gay or straight – should face shame because of who they are and who they love.
- In 1998, the people voted to give the Legislature the power to determine who may marry; the Legislature should embrace that responsibility and choose equality.
- Marriage equality will trigger up to $258 million dollars in additional spending, not to mention much-needed increases to state and county tax revenues. Hotels, restaurants, caterers, photographers, and thousands of other businesses – small and large alike – will benefit. http://www.uhero.hawaii.edu/
Every day that goes by without legislative action on marriage equality is another day that thousands of gay and lesbian residents of Hawaii are denied the very basic freedom to marry the person they love. Now – as we see a major national trend towards marriage equality – we ask that you hear (and pass) these bills. The time is now.
Hawaii United for Marriage