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More than 5,000 sign up to testify on gay marriage bill in House

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:23 a.m. HST, Nov 02, 2013

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he is pleased with how public testimony on a gay marriage bill is being handled after state House lawmakers reconvened a hearing Friday morning and vowed to hear from the 5,181 people who signed up to speak.

"The measure of our democracy is our commitment to it and if that involves a great length of time, that means a lot of people want to participate," Abercrombie said. "I do not think that anyone can site a failing or a shortcoming in the Legislature, because the Legislature is giving every effort to try not only to comprehend and understand what people's views are and positions are, but (figure out) how they can translate that into legislation that will honor our Constitutional obligations."

Rep. Karl Rhoads, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said people who are not present today when their names are called will have to wait until the end to testify but that he would allow them to speak.

"It's the same thing as voting," Abercrombie said. "(If) everybody's in line by six o'clock or eight o'clock, or whatever the time is, gets to vote. ... They set the time, everybody came, they signed up, they're going to be heard. That's democracy. I'm quite content with it."

Rhoads announced the plan for handling testimony after complaints from House lawmakers who oppose the bill that the committee was skipping over people who were not in the state Capitol auditorium when the hearing reconvened at 8:30 a.m.

"I'd like to finish the hearing this century," he told colleagues.

Rhoads and Rep. Sylvia Luke, the chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, had announced shortly after midnight -- after 14 hours of testimony -- that the meeting would recess until 8:30 a.m. after initially indicating their preference to continue with testimony.

During a brief recess Friday morning, when tensions in the audience were high, Rep. Marcus Oshiro stood at the back of auditorium and told people that they had a First Amendment right to speak and petition their government.

Oshiro complained that no public notice was given that the hearing would reconvene, so as many as 3,000 people might not know they were supposed to return to the state Capitol in the morning.

"This is not right as far as the public hearing process," Oshiro shouted, "that's what I'm voicing."

Oshiro told the audience that House rules have the effect of law: "Whether you are for or against this measure, you need to know the rules that you have!"

Oshiro later told reporters that House leaders should follow both the spirit and the letter of the public notice requirement.

"Either in the court of law, or in the court of public opinion, there's that taint," he said. "And that's what we're trying to avoid because if you really want to do justice to this issue and this measure, then you need to afford all due process, procedural requirements to the `T.'

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki said the hearing on Thursday was properly noticed and that the announcement to recess until the morning was not in violation of any procedure.

House lawmakers who oppose the bill -- and some of those who say they are undecided, like Oshiro -- have deliberately sought to slow the process.

Late Thursday, a few House lawmakers and other opponents of the bill appealed to people to come to the Capitol before midnight so they could sign up to testify and extend the hearing longer.

A few hundred people arrived at the Capitol in the hours before midnight to sign up.

Abercrombie said he remains confident that a vote will eventually be taken, and that a bill he feels confident in signing will land on his desk. He is also not concerned that more than a majority of the testimony seems so have been from people against same-sex marriage. 

"You don't measure, you never measure, the quality or the content of testimony by numbers," Abercrombie said. "If a Tom Paine or a Thomas Jefferson or a Martin Luther King Jr. or an Abraham Lincoln, a Fannie Lou Hamer at the democratic convention in the 1960s, stands up and is able to give you an insight that you did not previously comprehend -- it doesn't matter whether there's 10,000 views in another direction if that one strikes home as giving an insight or a perspective that didn't exist before."

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false wrote:
Total waste of everyones time… the legislators have their mind made up already… no amount of testimony from either side is worth a hill of beans to them. Most of the time when you testify it only makes you more frustrated and raises your blood pressure.
on November 1,2013 | 10:19AM
808zone wrote:
I totall agree with you "false". Look how quickly the Senate passed the bill. They already have their minds made up.
on November 1,2013 | 11:36AM
allie wrote:
agree...real charade
on November 1,2013 | 12:23PM
Venus1 wrote:
Hope the House passes it quickly!!
on November 1,2013 | 12:28PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
This is political theatre that Washington D.C. has perfected. Should we be so surprised that Abercrombie has brought this back to Hawaii. If they actually listen to the people testifying they would shut this down. Too bad money and special interests have the politicians in their pockets. Money talks and we the people have no voice.
on November 1,2013 | 07:50PM
star08 wrote:
With all due respect, this IS democracy in action. Such an outpouring of participation and legislative flexibility has rarely been seen so lets applaud the efforts that everyone are contributing. Whether you are for or against, folks are getting their chance to be heard. Rejoice!
on November 1,2013 | 09:57PM
PCWarrior wrote:
Exactly. The votes are in to pass the bill. They should stop the charade that people's testimony will amount to anything because this is a done deal.
on November 1,2013 | 11:37AM
localguy wrote:
Our dysfunctional bureaucrats are just trying to spin this in their favor, they will listen to over 5,000 people testify. Hmmm, sounds like information overload to me. After an hour or two each person's comments will be just another blur, adding to another blur. 83 solid hours of testimony, more like 100 hours when you add delays between talking, over two weeks at 40 hours a week. Would have been better to have a lottery for a select number of people to speak out. What if everyone one on the island signed up? Out of the group, bureaucrats will be lucky to remember what a few people said, their own biases selecting comments they like, disregarding everything else. Yes, just part of the process. Just another day in the Nei.
on November 1,2013 | 10:28AM
kiragirl wrote:
Finally something you said that makes sense. Agree with most of what you said.
on November 1,2013 | 10:42AM
localguy wrote:
kiragirl - Welcome back from the "Dark Side"
on November 1,2013 | 12:53PM
kiragirl wrote:
No way. The dark side is way too much fun.
on November 1,2013 | 05:48PM
walaau808 wrote:
Exactly the reason why this needed to be brought up in the regular session and not a special one...
on November 1,2013 | 12:54PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
The outcome of this bill had already been predetermined prior to scheduling this special session. The 5000 geniuses that went down there, stood in line for hours and got 2 minutes to speak apparently never got the memo from Neil that the bill was approved behind closed doors a few weeks ago.
on November 1,2013 | 07:31PM
star08 wrote:
Let them all speak out. I think more the merrier should step up and speak!
on November 1,2013 | 09:58PM
engineersoldier wrote:
Just so you know, elected officials are not bureaucrats, they are politicians. Bureaucrats are those functionaries that work for the city and state.
on November 1,2013 | 10:15PM
jomama wrote:
Hawaii version of filibuster. Gimme a break. Nice us of my taxpayer dollars.
on November 1,2013 | 10:31PM
Haoulie wrote:
70% of the people of Hawaii have voted "No Homosexual or Lesbian" weddings in our beautiful state but our elected government has an agenda, pass homosexual and lesbian marriage, what more do you want to do to our great state? You forced thru abortion and now this!
on November 1,2013 | 10:48AM
OldHawaiian wrote:
The problem is that people keep reelecting these guys
on November 1,2013 | 11:03AM
Kahu Matu wrote:
For some stupid reason we keep electing people because they have a D next to their name. 70% of the state does not want gay and lesbian weddings, but we can't stop electing money hungry, power touting, for-sale to the unions politicians. If the people only voted for people based upon stances and not just party.
on November 1,2013 | 07:54PM
kaune wrote:
Not true but a very popular myth. Seventy percent of Hawai`i did not vote "No Homosexual or Lesbian weddings." Hawai`i voters were never faced with the issue as described. Rather Hawaii voters passed a constitutional amendment giving the state legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples. And this was not passed by seventy percent of the people of Hawai`i but by 70% of the approximately 45% of the voting age population who actually turned out to vote in the 1998 election. Consequently it was only about 32% of the voting age population who voted to amend the state constitution. And that was 15 years ago. Sentiments change. Finally, remember that we do not elect our public officials to legislate according to public opinion polls. If the “will of the people” was used to make legislation, the civil rights battles of the ’60s never would have occurred. In the past, the will of the people has been used to justify atrocities ranging from lynching to prohibitions against inter-ethnic marriages. We owned slaves and women could not vote; such was the will of the people. We elect our representatives to do the laborious work of researching issues and making judgments in the best interest of their constituents. Such judgments – when well researched and well considered – might conflict with the beliefs and opinions of constituents who have not studied the issue in depth or, worse yet, have been influenced by a barrage of emotional, psychological, or pseudo-logical messages presented by well-funded influence groups on both sides of an issue.
on November 1,2013 | 11:17AM
moondog73 wrote:
Well said Kaune. It's about time someone came out with facts and common sense thinking.
on November 1,2013 | 11:57AM
walaau808 wrote:
You, me, and everyone else that voted in 1998 knew damn well what the intent of the election was. Don't try to play it down by suggesting anything else.
on November 1,2013 | 12:57PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Intent? The fact of the matter is the voters ceded this decision to their elected officials. Seems to me that the legislature is making the decision on the matter because we had earlier gave them the authorization to do so.
on November 1,2013 | 02:38PM
walaau808 wrote:
You, me, and everyone else that voted in 1998 knew exactly what the intent of the vote was for. Giving the power to the legislature to "reserve marriage to opposite sex couples" is exactly what the legislature should do - RESERVE MARRIAGE TO OPPOSITE SEX COUPLES! Don't act like you didn't know...
on November 1,2013 | 01:02PM
Anonymous wrote:
Maybe you should read the fine print the next time before you jump on that bandwagon. LOL. Oh the irony!
on November 1,2013 | 02:52PM
vball808chick wrote:
Oh oh, someone is getting "nuha" lol!
on November 1,2013 | 03:38PM
Usagi336 wrote:
You're right. Legislation is not made according to the "will of the people". Often times it is made according to the "will of special interests groups".
on November 1,2013 | 03:33PM
localguy wrote:
Haoulie - True but that was back in the mid 90s. Attitudes have changed since then. As the older generation moves out of power and the younger one comes in to power. Younger generation does not have all the old baggage and social hangups of the older generation, see nothing wrong with gay marriages. We have to accept this fact and deal with it.
on November 1,2013 | 01:53PM
aomohoa wrote:
I agree with you. Even our US Constitution was is designed to change with the times.
on November 1,2013 | 02:41PM
mjr wrote:
Bravo ... Marcus Oshiro. Wahiawa is fortunate to have you as a representative who speaks up for the people!
on November 1,2013 | 10:50AM
kiragirl wrote:
on November 1,2013 | 10:58AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
All career legislators are corrupt, he is no exception. They all need to be removed from office.
on November 1,2013 | 07:37PM
allie wrote:
I admire him. Most of Hawaii is against this bill which is why they do not want us to take it to a constitutional amendment vote.
on November 1,2013 | 11:21AM
Anonymous wrote:
4000 or so people the state is not. Most of these people seem to be the nosy neighbors of Hawaii nei.
on November 1,2013 | 02:53PM
star08 wrote:
Agreed. Silence of most people is assent! Even those who oppose cannot find the time or energy to come to the capitol or write in their opinions. "Silence is the voice of complicity" it has been said.
on November 1,2013 | 10:01PM
Anonymous wrote:
Wahiawa is fortunate to have Marcus Oshiro as its representative? Really? Have you seen how awful and dilapidated Wahiawa has become in the last 15 years?
on November 1,2013 | 09:21PM
lee1957 wrote:
I see the circus is still in town.
on November 1,2013 | 11:33AM
frontman wrote:
The one thing that was said the most was "Let the VOTERS decide" You know the democrats won't do that. They know what is best even though only 16% want gay marriage. Again if Love can NOT be stopped, Brothers and sisters can marry, first cousins can marry, fathers and daughters can marry, mothers and sons can marry. Once the gate is opened, how can you deny love to any two, even man and their best friends, dogs.
on November 1,2013 | 11:43AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
So you equate gay marriage with incest? Why are religious zealots always so anxious to impose their religious beliefs on others? Live your life with your religious beliefs but let others have the same freedom to make their own choices ... whether you think those choices are right or not, it's not for you to say.I don't even understand why you care what gays do, it has no bearing on you or your life.
on November 1,2013 | 07:45PM
star08 wrote:
You can tell which way is the light side noticing who is spreading the most fear. Then, go the other way.
on November 1,2013 | 10:02PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
What a goat rope and yet some people are happy letting these baboozes make a decision for them. Besides, the "testimony" is a sham when the politician have already made up their minds and you know they have already made up their minds one way or the other. Only a vote of the people empowers the people for a final resolution of an important issue.
on November 1,2013 | 12:23PM
Venus1 wrote:
Sorry I cannot be there to hold a sign FOR Marriage Equality!!
on November 1,2013 | 12:27PM
Masami wrote:
Did anyone watch the hearing on OLELO last night around 9 p.m.? One male testifier said he WAS homosexual before and then he found Jesus via New Hope (?) and now he ISN'T homosexual? He said the gay lifestyle is a choice. BIZARRE.....................
on November 1,2013 | 12:42PM
walaau808 wrote:
Everything we do in life is a choice...
on November 1,2013 | 12:58PM
Skyler wrote:
on November 1,2013 | 05:13PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
get over your discrimination already.
on November 1,2013 | 07:47PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Masami - Nonsense. Did he Pray-Away-the-Gay? Sounds like a typical plant by the far right.
on November 1,2013 | 01:54PM
Skyler wrote:
I don't know what he did, but I do know a couple of people who have stopped living a homosexual lifestyle - didn't kill 'em, either.

You see, it has nothing to do with right or left. You can choose who you have sex with, and following every little desire in your mind isn't - and shouldn't define - 'who you are.' It's a strong desire to enjoy in a certain way and you can (but don't) control it. Scientifically, there is no biological difference between a 'heterosexual' and 'homosexual' individual. The difference is the desire to have sex with the same sex. It's on your mind & you act on it. That's about it in a nutshell.
on November 1,2013 | 05:23PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
But why do they care who has sex with who? And why do they think they need to stop it?
on November 1,2013 | 07:50PM
Skyler wrote:
You'll have to ask them?

I'm all for the Government to get out of the 'marriage' business, personally - including the Federal Government. Civil Unions for any couple allowed to join should be the law of the land; a 'marriage' ceremony - whether religious or not - should be strictly optional, NOT Government Law; NOT the Law of the Land. After all, the Government only deals with the Civil aspect of unions (divorce, taxes, etc) - not anything other part, so they should clarify the law & keep it that way.
on November 1,2013 | 09:19PM
star08 wrote:
And, I know more than a few that chose a loving lifestyle over a hateful one. Or, that chose to love their same gender interest after being straight. None of that matters. What does matter is whether any human should sanction discrimination based on sexuality. Marriage is mostly about legal relationships so equal protection under the law is most humane.
on November 1,2013 | 10:06PM
Anonymous wrote:
It pained me to watch that, it was as if he were forced into doing it. I don't trust those new hope thugs, I've heard some crazy stories about how they harass and follow people.
on November 1,2013 | 02:55PM
hawaiikone wrote:
They've got their eye on you....
on November 1,2013 | 05:56PM
Anonymous wrote:
You know you have invented your own god when he hates the same people that you do.
on November 2,2013 | 11:37PM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Done Deal..total waste of taxpayers money..really this couldnt wait till they were in session next year..charade
on November 1,2013 | 12:51PM
Keolu wrote:
A big argument used by the LGBT activists is that this is a civil rights issue. If someone would show me evidence that people are born gay, bi or transgender, I would change my position on the issue.
on November 1,2013 | 01:41PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Keolu - No you wouldn't. What a crock.
on November 1,2013 | 01:49PM
Keolu wrote:
Irrelevant There is no evidence that people are born gay. It's not a civil rights issue. .
on November 1,2013 | 02:01PM
localguy wrote:
Keolu - Wrong again. Scientific evidence shows gays come from the mother's side and lesbians from the fathers side. We also are aware of gay twins, male and female. People are born the way they are. Hmmm, you must have attended the Nei's failing educational system, not learning how the real world works.
on November 1,2013 | 02:20PM
8082062424 wrote:
so not true there no proof just opinions that go both ways. science is still trying to prove it beyond a doubt and some day they might who knows.. i agree some are born that way but a equal amount is not and it a choice. some times it rejections cause some one to turn to this life style. some time is one bad relation ship after another. perfect example is people in prison who end up turning to gay sex were they born that way? some times it desperate people will do desperate thing to get needs met.
on November 1,2013 | 03:15PM
kuewa wrote:
So, in the absence of proof, you make up your own "facts"? Strange logic.
on November 1,2013 | 03:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
the prison example speaks for it self . it pretty much life. and women who have been in one abusive relationship after another are prone to turn to a female relationship it a fact get out and talk to people That is why you will see two females together and they have 4 kids .. i have a friend who did this.. I also had a friend in high school freshman year he asked every girl out in our class and got turn down he met a older guy in Waikiki who made him feel loved and wanted and that lasted for about a year. senior year he met a girl who liked him 14 years latter they married and have 4 kids. he will tell you he was lost and looking for love and made a bad choice . this older gay male pretty much took advantage of him. so yes some are born that way but a equal amount are not and it a choice they make
on November 1,2013 | 04:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
on November 1,2013 | 04:34PM
localguy wrote:
8082062424 - Hello. When you are a prisoner with sexual urges and no way to access females, what do you do? You know the answer. It is not gay sex as it is sex forced on those who cannot resist. Turn it down and you may get a shiv stuck in you when you least expect. Did you watch the movie "Shawshank Redemption"
on November 1,2013 | 06:05PM
8082062424 wrote:
face remain desperate people do desperate things
on November 2,2013 | 06:53AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
more likely he's just an old fut
on November 1,2013 | 07:55PM
MichaelG wrote:
The argument was used when women wanted the right to vote or african americans were freed from slavery, women wanted abortions, hawaiians wanted the right to self government etc etc
on November 1,2013 | 02:22PM
localguy wrote:
Keolu - The evidence is out there, why have you not looked for it? Afraid of what you might find? Ok, I will assist you. First throw out any church or religious websites. Stick with recognized, unbiased, proven news or science sites. Here is US News & World Reports - http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/12/11/scientists-may-have-finally-unlocked-puzzle-of-why-people-are-gay Sooooo, have you opened your mind to change?
on November 1,2013 | 02:26PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Your 2012 referenced study contains the pivotal word "may". Just as the previous gene study did, until it was rejected. A problem with opening your mind too soon is that anything can fall inside.
on November 1,2013 | 06:11PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
It makes no difference what you or I think, it's about doing what is fair, equal and right. Everyone deserves the right to decide who they want to marry. Why do you care?
on November 1,2013 | 07:53PM
Keolu wrote:
Why hear all the testimony unless the lawmakers are going to make their decision based on the testimony?
on November 1,2013 | 01:43PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
You anti-SSM types are a hoot. Whining about too much time taken/wasting time for testimony because it is a done deal, but you want everyone to have some input.
on November 1,2013 | 01:47PM
Keolu wrote:
You for SSM types are a hoot. Insulting anyone who does not support your cause. Sometimes you can agree to disagree and be civil about it.
on November 1,2013 | 02:03PM
jomama wrote:
maybe, until you start restricting people's rights. which is what you are doing. What is so difficult about live and let live.
on November 1,2013 | 10:27PM
Giligan wrote:
Who is paying for Special Session? Christmas overtime money for legislature?
on November 1,2013 | 02:34PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Gilligan - Should be religious groups that are trying to stretch it out with their quixotic foolibuster.
on November 2,2013 | 11:37AM
kainalu wrote:
There's only so much that can be said on each side of the debate. Once they're past the 20th person, everyone else after that will have like testimony. Lemmings - in a nut shell - pun intended.
on November 1,2013 | 02:57PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
You are right that after a (short) while the testimony becomes redundant, but in a democracy, we have to give those who wish to testify the opportunity to testify, no matter how redundant it is. I would not characterize the testifiers as "lemmings", no they are citizens participating in our democracy, and no matter what side of the issue they are on, I for one congratulate them for their willingness to stand up and make their opinions known before our legislature. Aloha.
on November 1,2013 | 05:03PM
tigerwarrior wrote:
This will become an exhaustive exercise in redundancy and cliches--to which I doubt any House lawmakers will be swayed. Speaking of cliches, this is much better put than I could ever write: "Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."~Andre Gide
on November 1,2013 | 07:38PM
frontman wrote:
Wanting a gay lover is a choice................
on November 1,2013 | 04:31PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
For frontman it is a goal...............
on November 2,2013 | 11:38AM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Same Sex Marriage opponents appear to be too stupid to be allowed to testify. They don't know when to show up. They whine when they don't. And, you want these idi0ts to vote on someone's rights?
on November 1,2013 | 05:30PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
The LAX shooter "... was identified later by the FBI as Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles. He graduated in 2008 from Salesianum School, an all-boys Catholic school in Wilmington, Delaware, according to school President Brendan P. Kennealey." What is wrong with you religious knuckleheads?
on November 1,2013 | 05:34PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
The LAX shooter "... was identified later by the FBI as Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles. He graduated in 2008 from Salesianum School, an all-boys Catholic school in Wilmington, Delaware, according to school President Brendan P. Kennealey." What is wrong with you religious knuckleheads?
on November 1,2013 | 05:37PM
Bothrops wrote:
"Abercrombie said. "I do not think that anyone can site a failing or a shortcoming in the Legislature, because the Legislature is giving every effort" "site"? do we mean cite as in refer to, sight as in vision or site as in a place?
on November 1,2013 | 06:19PM
Skyler wrote:
Eh, it's the award-winning SAd staff's way of keeping us on our toes.
on November 1,2013 | 09:22PM
Venus1 wrote:
The tide has turned ! Hating Gays, finding obscure passages in the Bible, ignoring science will not fly anymore ! The New Hopers wil not force their intolerance on Hawaii.
on November 1,2013 | 07:44PM
false wrote:
"IMAGINE" Think about it!!!
on November 1,2013 | 08:31PM
jomama wrote:
(5181*2)/60=172.7 hours of testimony. So that's what our legislature will be doing for the next six weeks. Good use of my taxpayer dollars. Ridiculous. Gay-haters, get out of the way.
on November 1,2013 | 10:30PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Busloads of religious sheep delivered to the capital, told what to think and say, then herded back up and delivered back to the barn. So pathetic.
on November 2,2013 | 08:17AM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Aloha everyone, 1) House Oral Testimony: Please advise your congregations that they should not get too comfortable with the big number that they have been given for their testimony. Once the House Committees run out of testifiers, the hearing WILL end. Our goal is a "People's Filibuster", but the filibuster ends when we run out of speakers. After midnight tonight, it will be the discretion of the committee chairs whether to hear testimony from individuals who were passed over. It would be fair to guess at that point that they will not want to grant a second chance. But the best advice I can give is to keep tabs on the hearing (Olelo, Oceanic Ch#53). Account for commute times and for parking difficulties. If possible, I will try to pass on the number they end with tonight (if they end). 2) Stay Vigilant: While our current goal is to keep the testimony rolling, we must remember that the work does not end with the House Committee Hearings. We must still maintain constant contact with representatives through the end of the special session. Garret Hashimoto State Chairman, Hawaii Christian Coalition
on November 2,2013 | 01:55PM
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