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Gay marriage opponents urge lawmakers to put issue before voters

  • BRUCE ASATO/BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM2013 October 11 CTY - Same Sex Presser - James Hochberg, Esq., president of Hawaii Family Advocates, spoke in front of dozens of people in a press conference as part of the Coalition To Let The People Decide On Marriage efforts concerning same sex marriage legislation at the State Capitol. The group opposes same sex marriage and want the issue put on the ballot to let the people decide the issue.  HSA photo by Bruce Asato
    BRUCE ASATO/BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    2013 October 11 CTY - Same Sex Presser - James Hochberg, Esq., president of Hawaii Family Advocates, spoke in front of dozens of people in a press conference as part of the Coalition To Let The People Decide On Marriage efforts concerning same sex marriage legislation at the State Capitol. The group opposes same sex marriage and want the issue put on the ballot to let the people decide the issue. HSA photo by Bruce Asato

Chanting “Let the people decide!”, dozens of opponents of gay marriage held a news conference at the state Capitol today urging state lawmakers to put the issue before voters through a constitutional amendment.

The state House and Senate have been called back by Gov. Neil Abercrombie for a special session this month to debate a gay marriage bill. The governor called the session in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that legally married gay couples are entitled to federal benefits.

Voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 that gave the Legislature the power to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The state Attorney General’s Office and several constitutional scholars believe the Legislature has the power to change that definition, but many opponents of gay marriage think voters should be given the choice.

“Don’t take our choice to preserve traditional marriage as a unique social institution out of the law unless you ask us,” said James Hochberg, an attorney and president of Hawaii Family Advocates. “If we say ‘yes,’ fine. If we say ‘no,’ no.”

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