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Oahu churches file suit to block civil unions law

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 08:50 p.m. HST, Dec 29, 2011

Two Oahu churches have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the new state law that allows civil unions for same-sex couples.

The law takes effect Sunday.

Emmanuel Temple in Wahiawa and Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God in Waipahu contend that the civil union statute violates their rights under federal civil rights law and constitutional freedom of religion protections.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, the churches said the law, Act 1, exempts the churches from performing civil unions, but not from refusing to rent their church premises for same-sex ceremonies and receptions.

The Christian churches, which are represented by Honolulu attorney Shawn Luiz, said they should not be held liable for fines or money damages if they refuse to allow those activities on church grounds

Joshua Wisch, spokesman for the attorney general's office, said they will oppose the churches' request for a restraining order that would block the implementation of the law.

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Fred01 wrote:
Interesting. But typical Honolulu SA misrepresentation! Sheesh! They are not suing to block the Civil Unions law! How about a little integrity SA? Maybe your reporters have been watching too much Fox News!
on December 29,2011 | 01:40PM
Vivgie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on December 29,2011 | 01:44PM
chryw8 wrote:
i thought you christians believe that jesus loves all of his children. shouldn't you practice what jesus preached?
on December 29,2011 | 02:06PM
8082062424 wrote:
Jesus did preach love but he said do not partake in other sin churches have every right to say no and protect them selves.
on December 29,2011 | 02:13PM
JPG wrote:
Protect themselves from what??? Maybe they should not perform marriages for people who have been divorced too - How stupid is that
on December 29,2011 | 02:33PM
8082062424 wrote:
Well let see not partake in some thing they feel is wrong in there beliefs. im all for gay having civil union. but at the same time churches have every right to there beliefs and there rights.
on December 29,2011 | 02:40PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
Yes they can be as big of bigots as they want - however if they enter into the realm of public accomidations then they CANNOT discriminate. Plain and simple. They want to be exempt from the law then stop renting to the general public and only rent to their shurch members then there will be no bases for ANYONE to file a lawsuit if they deny renting to them on any of the protected classes.
on December 29,2011 | 03:29PM
8082062424 wrote:
churches has the right to not have civil unions in there church or there property The real question is why gay would want to go any where that dose not condone there life style.come on there are churches who will do civil unions. all they want to do is stir the pot again. after civil unions bill was passed the battle died out. now they want to force churches to do there will. we will just have to see how the court rules. this paper left out a lot of facts. Hawaii Free Press has more facts plus a copy of the law suit
on December 29,2011 | 03:49PM
wiliki wrote:
Perhaps some member of the church has a different opinion and insists on his son or daughter's reception at the church if not the CU? Will the member's different opinion affect the other members' worship. How could a reception change their opinion?
on December 29,2011 | 07:55PM
Hwa_Tam wrote:
AIDS virus effects everyone... and death to people who dont believe in the same things as you? why do you believe so strongly in the little man in the sky? what makes your god the right one? because you believe in him? what about the spacemen??? Allah and Moses...
on December 29,2011 | 02:21PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I suspect you've already spent a good portion of your life working at making "gays miserable". I find it interesting that you've posted anti-semitic comments in here and now you've moved onto homophobic comments.

You don't speak for all Christians, just some of the misguided ones. Many of us believe it is God's purview to judge, not ours.

on December 29,2011 | 02:42PM
BRock wrote:
Why would you want to make gays miserable? What have they ever done to you?
on December 29,2011 | 03:58PM
Bothrops wrote:
That is a terrorist threat against the United States. Don't plan on flying anytime soon.
on December 29,2011 | 04:34PM
JPG wrote:
GOOD GOD! Please help these people lord and let them not judge others! For shame in the name of religion. God makes no mistakes it is the self rightous people who think they can judge others who are sinful by judging! Jesus loves all of us , even you ignorant judgemental people./. I pray that no one in your families has to deal with your ignorance and that jesus allow you to open your heart and see the light!
on December 29,2011 | 02:31PM
aomohoa wrote:
Well said, JPG!
on December 29,2011 | 03:37PM
medigogo wrote:
I think the government should stay away from the citizens' own business. A church or temple Christian or not should be allowed to refuse service to anyone they don't like. In the same way, if a restaurant owner or a landlord feels uncomfortable with certain people, they should be allowed to refuse service too. I don't see the value of getting all people to believe and behave the same. There should be some freedom from government tyranny.
on December 29,2011 | 02:46PM
8082062424 wrote:
Thank you well said
on December 29,2011 | 02:51PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
The public accomodations laws were passed by the Legislature. They were duly elected by their constituents in our representative democracy... hardly "tyranny".

Just curious... if someone substituted the words "Afican-American" or "Jewish" or "Japanese" for the words "certain people" in your sentence about feeling uncomfortable, would that also be OK for you? Or is it just discrimination against gay people you are advocating?

on December 29,2011 | 03:00PM
medigogo wrote:
If Congress or the legislature can decide everything on a simple majority vote, then we don't need the court system anymore. There are so many representative democracies that could be termed tyrannies both in history and today, Hitler's Germany being one of them. What's common in them is they want everyone to think and behave the same. That i'm opposed to. Your curious question is dismissed. I wasn't about any particular group, gays or whatever else.
on December 29,2011 | 03:52PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
You can dismiss it all you want, but the fact that you didn't answer it speaks volumes.
on December 29,2011 | 04:12PM
kalanik001 wrote:
Restaurant owners can refuse service to patrons, but not on the basis of sexual orientation.
on December 29,2011 | 04:15PM
Changalang wrote:
Prediction; motioned denied. Live and let live. What would Jesus do?
on December 29,2011 | 03:27PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I suspect you are correct.

It would be hard to say since there is not a single utterance from Jesus in the Bible about homosexuality.

on December 29,2011 | 03:43PM
braddah wrote:
OK, I'm not saying I'm for or against anything, but Jesus did go after people in the temple who were in there trying to make money instead of to pray....just saying....
on December 29,2011 | 03:45PM
Changalang wrote:
Odds are that at least one of the twelve apostles was gay. If Jesus expelled gays from his Father's house, instead of money changers; then your point would hold some validity.
on December 29,2011 | 04:51PM
tommui wrote:
Did anyone ask the two churches to perform the civil union services? If not, the suit is obviously bogus and totally premature. If the news story is correct, the churches are not on its face opposing civil unions but asking that such services not be held in their respective churches.
on December 29,2011 | 03:31PM
8082062424 wrote:
Yes they have and was turn down.Hawaii Free Press has the full story and a copy of the law suit
on December 29,2011 | 03:53PM
aomohoa wrote:
Why would any Gay person want to get married in a Church with such a judgmental attitude? They wouldn't. Don't be so homophobic.
on December 29,2011 | 03:39PM
digger wrote:
dear reader: it seems to me that our star-advertiser was less than forthcoming when this was in the bill,and amid all the publicity, they never let the public know about this provision. that said, let the churches rent to these couples, as required by law, for $ 300,000. per marriage.
on December 29,2011 | 03:43PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
As long as they charge the same price to all couples equally, they would be allowed to do that under the law.
on December 29,2011 | 09:10PM
aomohoa wrote:
There is only one thing worse than than government being involved in so many issues,and that is lawyers. I am so sick of all the lawsuits.
on December 29,2011 | 03:45PM
aomohoa wrote:
Does anyone know how I can read this bill?
on December 29,2011 | 04:04PM
Mikilai wrote:
I disagree with challenging Civil Unions, equality should be given to all. But I do have to agree with churches and religion when it comes to being forced to do something that is totally against their belief or bylaws. *but* how can they preach about love and not love all man kind. I don't get it, everyone is human and they are not aliens. I'm not in the Civil Union circle but I do support them for sure. They are wonderful people just like you and I. Perhaps Civil Union's will create their own church and they will be the ones to provide equality and love to "ALL".
on December 29,2011 | 04:10PM
aomohoa wrote:
I have not said anything that is not appropriate, why do all my comments go for review? I don't see several of them!
on December 29,2011 | 04:14PM
kalanik001 wrote:
If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people....they're the ones who keep having gay babies.
on December 29,2011 | 04:17PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Great point, Kalanik001!
on December 29,2011 | 04:33PM
8082062424 wrote:
there seem to be a gay gene test thats new and they want to ban it.they fear parents will use it to see if there unborn child is gay and if it is will abort the unborn child. how true im not sure. but it got gay groups real upset
on December 29,2011 | 04:36PM
aomohoa wrote:
In some sort of crazy way, your right.
on December 29,2011 | 04:38PM
aomohoa wrote:
Let me make it clear: I was commenting to kalanik001 not 8082062424.
on December 29,2011 | 05:58PM
Changalang wrote:
Odds are at least one the twelve apostles was G^Y. If Jesus had thrown out G^Ys instead of singling money changers for desecrating his Father's house, then you might have a valid point.
on December 29,2011 | 04:53PM
thanks4reading wrote:
Churches that engage in political activity should loose their tax exempt status.
on December 29,2011 | 04:53PM
mreduardo wrote:
"a chilling effect" is me on my sofa with a glass of wine on Friday evening. It is ridiculous to suggest that Civil Unions in any way affects/effects anyone's "free exercise of religion." I predict this case will be summarily dismissed. It is pathetic the extent to which some "Christians" will go to promote their myths/beliefs.
on December 29,2011 | 04:54PM
thanks4reading wrote:
this brought to you by the religion that use to burn witches.
on December 29,2011 | 04:54PM
Changalang wrote:
And the same religion that evolved into a Church that just paid a big settlement to once child victims of Catholic priests molesting alter boys without the decency of being joined in a civil union. Hypocrisy methinks.
on December 29,2011 | 08:15PM
kainalu wrote:
Homophobics suffer from homophobia, and? lol
on December 29,2011 | 05:02PM
9ronboz wrote:
on December 29,2011 | 05:18PM
justin_thyme wrote:
The attorney who filed the lawsuit, Mr. Luiz, is himself an evangelical religious extremist. He is probably providing his legal services for free. So here's hoping that these churches get exactly what they're paying for -- NOTHING! The churches and their lawyer should crash and burn (legally speaking) in the federal court. Then they should be required to pay the State's legal fees and expenses once they lose. I support religious freedoms, but not when the religious attempt to impose their will on others who don't share their beliefs. Whenever churches seek to intervene in matters of law or legislation or politics, they must be stopped. I hope that State and Federal government attorneys will look into these churches to determine whether they're complying with all laws regarding their tax-exempt status.
on December 29,2011 | 05:28PM
akamaiperson wrote:
Read the lawsuit. The plaintiffs do not say that anyone requested to use their facilities for the purposes of holding or celebrating civil unions; see paragraph 14. Neither they nor their "churches" have been harmed in any way by the civil unions bill, to date.
on December 29,2011 | 05:28PM
8082062424 wrote:
"Within the last 12 months, private individuals have already initiated complaints with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission against churches and houses of worship for refusing to rent their facilities for same-sex unions and/or marriage ceremonies." read Hawaii free press. im all for civil union but churches have there rights also
on December 29,2011 | 05:50PM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
These churches break my heart that they would go against the greatest commandment of all to love your neighbor as your self when they filed an injunction to stop the Civil Unions this 1-1-12. They are a disgrace to Hawaii and any god they think they represent.
on December 29,2011 | 05:30PM
8082062424 wrote:
because they trying to protect there rights? come on now how many times have we heard it wrong for churches to push there beliefs on others. This time it the other side trying to force there life style on churches. wrong is wrong.
on December 29,2011 | 05:52PM
pakeheat wrote:
you bet, funny they always use the love one another as God loved everyone, can the other side explain what does the bible says is sexual immorality?
on December 29,2011 | 07:31PM
pastormatt wrote:
People will always pick and choose whatever passages best suit their argument. Most are not believers but only care about their own interests and think that in quoting words from the Bible will help their case. If you are a Christian then you accept all of the Bible as God's Word (Jesus being the Word in the flesh) or you create your own religious system based upon all sorts of things you want and like. Yes, the Bible tells Christians to love as they have been loved by God. If He killed His son as a sacrifice for our sins, then how could He be happy with us still doing those things He describes as sin. It is a loving thing to warn someone that their actions are distancing themselves from their God who loves them. It is not judging just as warning a child from playing on the H-1 is not judging. It is love that motivates Christians to help them.
on December 29,2011 | 07:48PM
Changalang wrote:
This action and the ineffective drama queen anti-Rail antics are the lasts dying gasps of the Hawaii GOP; miserable failures.
on December 29,2011 | 06:00PM
akamaiperson wrote:
One of the local television stations tried to interview the LIghthouse pastor: "When we met Joe Hunkin, the Lighthouse Outreach pastor he immediately became angry and tried to kick us off the property even though we were standing on the public sidewalk at the time. He refused to talk about the lawsuit he initiated." What a Christian!
on December 29,2011 | 06:00PM
Changalang wrote:
This and the Anti-Rail lawsuit are simply the last gasps of the Hawaii GOP. It won't be long now. Run to the light.
on December 29,2011 | 06:01PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Since when did religion decide our laws?
on December 29,2011 | 06:56PM
kawika49 wrote:
Well, if they (those who are not like you) pay taxes; they deserve the same rights and opportunities.
on December 29,2011 | 06:58PM
tommui wrote:
In response to 8082062424, I have read the Complaint filed by the two churches. Complaints have been made to the Civil Rights Commission who have not ruled on the complaint but are still investigating. In any law suit of this sort, actual harm must have occurred. The question really is whether any individual have actually gone to one of the two churches and demanded that they perform a civil union ceremony on their behalf and have been turned down. If no one has actually been turned down by one of the two churches, there is no actual party in interest.
on December 29,2011 | 07:16PM
Eradication wrote:
What about civil unions for heterosexual couples? The Civil Union Laws include couples that don't want a church marriage but still want to unite as a couple under the law.
on December 29,2011 | 07:39PM
localguy wrote:
Personally I believe in how Science is proving their is no God, never was. The universe was created on it's own, there research supports there is no supreme being. Ok to believe what you want, live how you want. But when you say God this, God that, God told me. Well, we'll call you bluff on it. Does anyone really believe if there was a supreme being who created the Cosmos which goes on millions and millions of light years, they care what little bits of life like us do or think? Not going to happen. Have a great day.
on December 29,2011 | 09:24PM
pralix wrote:
It's called a "CIVIL UNION" for a reason: the ceremony doesn't have to be in a church, or have anything to do with religion.
on December 29,2011 | 10:40PM
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