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House tightens rules for testifying on same-sex marriage bill

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 03:54 p.m. HST, Nov 04, 2013

The state House has tightened screening procedures for testimony on the same-sex marriage bill, Rep. Sylvia Luke said today.

The House has committed to hearing from the 5,184 people who had signed up, but opponents have used the process to delay the marathon hearing.

Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuu-anu) said the House Judiciary Committee and the House Finance Committee would not allow people to give proxy testimony for those who have signed up to testify but are not present. She said that photo identification would be enforced to ensure people are indeed registered to testify.

"We really want to discourage individuals from telling others that they can come and give other people's names or talk on behalf of other people, because that's really going to be wasting that person's time, and they're being misled into thinking that's being allowed here," Luke told reporters. "That's not being allowed."

Luke, the chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, also noted that she has conducted her own committee hearings differently, cutting off testimony once it becomes repetitive.

"The way I run my hearings is, if there's duplication -- if people are saying the same thing -- I would automatically cut it off," she said.

Luke said that at this point in the gay marriage hearing, "90 percent of the information is duplicative, but we made a commitment to hear testimony, because this is a serious issue, and this is important for a lot of people ... But if people are trying to get other people -- or trying to testify on behalf of other people -- then that kind of defeats the whole purpose of having this hearing."

Later today, state Rep. Marcus Oshiro sent a memo to Luke and Rep. Karl Rhoads, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, challenging them to cite the rule that allows them to ask people for valid identification before they testify or restrict testimony by proxy.

"I have grave concerns that these reports, if found accurate, taints the fairness of these proceedings and taints the validity of any committee action resulting from them," Oshiro wrote.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki said the committees have discretion over how to accept public testimony and conduct hearings.

Testimony in the House entered its fourth day today.

The measure passed easily in the Senate last week but is expected to be amended and see a closer vote in the House, which has seven Republicans and some Democrats who do not support gay marriage. An amended bill would have to be approved by the Senate.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
This bill will die on procedural grounds? hmmmm.....
on November 4,2013 | 01:04PM
allie wrote:
best to put it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment and let the people decide next November
on November 4,2013 | 02:39PM
mcc wrote:
You don't vote on someone's Civil rights. They are rights.
on November 4,2013 | 03:26PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Getting married is not and never a right. Not everyone can get married today. And that is what it should be.
on November 4,2013 | 04:26PM
joshislost wrote:
i wanna marry a 13 year old dont take my rights away from me
on November 4,2013 | 06:53PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
There are monetary and other benefits that come with marriage. To deny someone those benefits on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of civil rights.
on November 4,2013 | 08:28PM
ISCREAM wrote:
What rights do you need to get and pay a license for?
on November 4,2013 | 09:19PM
peanutgallery wrote:
Wait until we start teaching homosexual sex in public school. This is going to get really disturbing.
on November 5,2013 | 12:06AM
8082062424 wrote:
sounds fair provide a ID . But then again Obama would have a problem with that
on November 4,2013 | 01:32PM
Skyler wrote:
Rather contradictory, isn't it.
on November 4,2013 | 02:34PM
puamamane wrote:
I'd like to marry a goat.
on November 4,2013 | 01:43PM
8082062424 wrote:
lol. what ever floats your boat
on November 4,2013 | 01:46PM
allie wrote:
on November 4,2013 | 01:47PM
8082062424 wrote:
you may want to wrote our Sen. Brian Schatz he seem to have a thing for sheep
on November 4,2013 | 01:58PM
localguy wrote:
I heard it was a sheep. Are you my daaaaddddeeee?
on November 4,2013 | 02:04PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
puamamane - An asz marrying a goat. Go for it.
on November 4,2013 | 07:25PM
Keith_Rollman wrote:
The committee appears to be growing weary of the Democratic process. You can just smell the distain they have for the citizens they're supposed to be working for.
on November 4,2013 | 01:51PM
copperwire9 wrote:
You are truly pathetic.
on November 4,2013 | 02:16PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
They don't want to represent the people or even hear from the people. The committee feels that they are wiser and better than those testifying and merely want to placate them so that when elections roll around again, they can say, "we let you speak, but we did what we thought was best." If they were actually listening to the people then the democratic process would be working. Problem is they are not.
on November 4,2013 | 03:01PM
hikine wrote:
4 days of testifying? This is getting ridiculous! They should have set a number of days or people. There are other things to be done.
on November 4,2013 | 01:59PM
8082062424 wrote:
come on now this special session was about SSM.
on November 4,2013 | 02:04PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Shows you how many people are strongly against such an issue. It's like they voted on this years ago and feel that their representatives are now trying to undo their vote and undo the constitution of our state. Glad that they are allowing people to speak, but since the vast majority are against Gay Marriage, the legislators aren't going to listen. They have too much disdain for the people they represent.
on November 4,2013 | 03:20PM
vball808chick wrote:
4,000 testimonies and 50 bus loads (lol) of mormons driven in from the north shore doesn't speak for the 1.5 million people in Hawaii...just saying. Times have drastically changed and so will marriage.
on November 4,2013 | 03:27PM
8082062424 wrote:
I doubt they are were Mormons and i know folks who went down from all walks of life some even took off work and skipped school . but the only way to know how all 1 .5 million people feel is to let them vote. until then it just opinions like your and others
on November 4,2013 | 03:48PM
vball808chick wrote:
It was a joke, get a grip! That's why I put (LOL).
on November 4,2013 | 03:53PM
8082062424 wrote:
oops my bad sorry
on November 4,2013 | 04:00PM
ISCREAM wrote:
Hate speak is nothing to joke about...would you like someone to joke about your sexual orientation...
on November 4,2013 | 09:22PM
ISCREAM wrote:
Sounds like hate speak to me...
on November 4,2013 | 09:21PM
8082062424 wrote:
want to talk about some one who so strongly against this . http://hawaii.news.blogs.civilbeat.com/post/66047799956/hawaii-police-union-president-says-he-wouldnt-enforce
on November 4,2013 | 03:57PM
localguy wrote:
If the Nei did not have so many backwards people afraid of change, it would have taken a few hours. Religious terrorists are so against SSM they will do anything to try and stop it. Like trying to stop a tidal wave, not going to happen.
on November 4,2013 | 02:05PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Greedy, greedy, greedy. Religious institutions don't want government to intrude into their affairs and force them to solemnize SSM against their will. And the tiny portion of the gay population are so greedy they want to get married in their church by using the government to compel their church to solemnize SSM against their wishes.

Gay couples can get married anywhere and whomever they want but not on church grounds or facilities where a particular faith considers SSM an abomination.
on November 4,2013 | 05:05PM
IslandKine wrote:
People have a right to be heard but it should be done in an efficient and effective manner.
on November 4,2013 | 02:02PM
Kuokoa wrote:
"Luke said that at this point in the gay marriage hearing, "90 percent of the information is duplicative," Of course the testimony will be the same, Rep. Luke. We are like minded people here and are totally against this bill! We passed a constitutional amendment in 1998 which is the law and you need to have the PEOPLE vote to change that!
on November 4,2013 | 02:11PM
Skyler wrote:
I know, huh? I mean there are only 2 choices here: For or Against - so what, exactly, did she expect to hear differently from the people?
on November 4,2013 | 02:32PM
Mahalo wrote:
Next year I am interducing a bill that allows any pet that you treat and think of as a family member is considered your dependant and you can get health insurance as well as a tax deduction.
on November 4,2013 | 02:48PM
8082062424 wrote:
I am all for that. just the cost of taking your pet to the vet is huge.
on November 4,2013 | 04:02PM
justchecking wrote:
I'm down for that one!
on November 4,2013 | 04:57PM
aomohoa wrote:
Hey I'm ll for that. I love my pets. They are family.
on November 4,2013 | 05:49PM
Holomua wrote:
Interesting how the only people who can testify are either unemployed or are rich enough to be able to take off of work. I'd go testify but I have a day job.
on November 4,2013 | 02:53PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
I'd be with you if I didn't have a job and family to take care of.
on November 4,2013 | 03:07PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So can we conclude from this article that 90% of the 5100 testifying are against Gay Marriage, just as 70% of the voter's are against Gay Marriage, but the legislators don't want to hear opposition to their great wisdom. If they cared about the electorate, they would kill this bill immediately. Problem is that they want the money and power of the Democratic party.
on November 4,2013 | 03:05PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
You can conclude both of those statistics, but you would be wrong.
on November 4,2013 | 03:43PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Actually Kahu Matu's conclusion would be correct - as far as the 90% and 70% goes. The deception comes if one takes a few thousand comments and extrapolates to suggest that the same result would be seen across the population as a whole. That would be intellectually, and morally, bankrupt.

And that, again, is why the vote of the people is the correct way to handle this issue.

on November 4,2013 | 04:44PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
70% of the voters based on what? Kahu Matu and the author of the article also conveniently doesn't include the written testimony not included in the 5100 number. Those numbers are running much higher in support than against.
on November 4,2013 | 04:55PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
And why would you ever conclude that? Since the legislature wants to make the decisions themselves and are unwilling to put it back to the people or take the peoples 70% vote against a few years ago tells me that there is still a minority in favor of Gay Marriage and a strong majority who do not believe in such. It is all a matter of faith in either a god or in one's personal sexuality. I guess most people don't agree that we should create new labels to divide based upon one's sexual tastes and ever-changing feelings.
on November 4,2013 | 07:47PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Actually the portion of the Hawaii population that is gay is very tiny. And the media fans the flames of the fallacy of marriage equality. For there is no such thing as marriage equality. Under today's laws not everyone can get married. And to make a blanket mantra that gays have the right to get married is false because gays are not the only ones not allowed to get married. So it is false to preach equality for only a few and not all who are not allowed to get married.
on November 4,2013 | 05:19PM
Kuniarr wrote:
There is no equality if only a select few are given the right to get married to the exclusion of the many.
on November 4,2013 | 05:22PM
lawman1175 wrote:
Does this mean that I can have as many wives as I want?
on November 4,2013 | 11:06PM
3keys wrote:
Is there any written rule saying committee chairs can limit the number of testimonies or cut off "duplicative" testimonies? I don't think so. Also, there have been times when I have testified on behalf of my boss and read my boss's written testimony at hearings.
on November 4,2013 | 03:12PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
hey, Cecilia, is that you?
on November 4,2013 | 06:11PM
kenhawaii wrote:
u people say u r from Hawaii the land of aloha and yet u made this types of comments. Come on, this is a discussion about providing equal rights to all of our people not about marrying your pet. what a silly comparison.
on November 4,2013 | 03:24PM
8082062424 wrote:
hey do not blame Hawaii. people from state side come here and teach them these bad habits . Sen. Brian Schatz seem to have a thing for sheep that he pick up while in college on the main land
on November 4,2013 | 03:37PM
lawman1175 wrote:
What about having more than one spouse? Why does the government prevent me from being married to more than one person?
on November 4,2013 | 11:08PM
sohappy2beme wrote:
Wow! I was born and raised in Hawai'i, and I thought, really thought we were the land of aloha. As one of the posters that I saw said, I am straight, but not narrow, thus I support equal rights for all. I know each and every one of you commenting here have friends or even family who are gay or "mahu" as we call them. We love them dearly and the thought that they are treated any less respectfully than we are is shameful. What they choose to do behind closed doors is their business, and if they want to marry, who are we to stop them? The mentality here is always "Oh I cannot stand gays," but if you point out, "What about Joe-Boy?" or "What about Honey Girl?" it'd be oh, well except for them, that is my cousin. That is my best friend from small kid time. Always the exception for the ones you know because somehow those are just a little better than the rest. How sad is that?
on November 4,2013 | 04:14PM
8082062424 wrote:
just maybe not all of our gay family member and friend support this . and in Hawaii we always support our ohana. just maybe what been noticed all of those we see on the news and speaking out against religious freedom has been transplants and out siders. keep in mind most local folks have a strong faith in some form of a god.
on November 4,2013 | 04:35PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Eh, we treat our gay relations the way we treat our politicians. Mine are fine; yours are not. Throw the buggahs out except for the good ones and the ones who are the friends of my friends, Nah, nah, nah, maybe they are OK after all.

This is the mind set of what happens in the privacy of the voting booth and why this is an issue to be left to the vote of the people, not politicians with agendas.

on November 4,2013 | 04:47PM
8082062424 wrote:
well said
on November 4,2013 | 05:03PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Amen to that.
on November 4,2013 | 07:49PM
HawaiiHiker wrote:
Ok, I'll give it to the opposition that they are going down fighting. But they are going down...we will have marriage equality in Hawaii, and all this endless testimony is just is delaying it by a few days.
on November 4,2013 | 04:38PM
8082062424 wrote:
ill give they won this battle. but unless religious rights are equally protected the war will go on. And yes they won rights and benefits but that about it. No law or court will ever change what in folks minds and hearts. and the more you push the more they will fight. Those who feel this is wrong on on grounds of some sort of faith will still feel that way. those who think this life style is not normal will still feel that way. But now you have created another group who feel this is not right on the simple fact that it was shoved on them and they feel they should have the right to vote on it. respect and trust is earned no court or law will ever give you that
on November 4,2013 | 04:53PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
those authorized to perform civil marriages are NOT necessarily licensed to perform religious marriages.

sorry, it's past my bedtime.
on November 4,2013 | 06:25PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
HawaiiHiker - It's a religious foolibuster.
on November 4,2013 | 07:31PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Yes, you can have marriage equality in Hawaii. But do not expect to get married in a church where SSM is not entertained nor expect the government to force a church to marry a gay couple against the will of that church.
on November 4,2013 | 05:10PM
AmbienDaze wrote:

there was a testifier today who said that she is licensed to perform religious marriages but not civil marriages. and those authorized to perform civil marriages are necessarily licensed to perform religious marriages.

so the outcome may be civil married (by a judge or other government official) or religious married (by their church).
the testifier said it's on the marriage certificate whether civil or religious.
on November 4,2013 | 06:22PM
Kuniarr wrote:
Opposition is not to the performing of SSM but to the use of the grounds or facilities of a church that forbids SSM for the solemnization of SSM.

A religious SSM can be peformed on the beach, in a home, on an airplane on a ship but that has nothing to do with opposition to SB1 or the Marriage Equality Bill.
on November 4,2013 | 07:22PM
Jmhata wrote:
Why are we going through all this B.S. if this is a true Democracy and it is for the people why do we let politicians decide what type of laws should be made? I thought in a true Democracy the people vote and what the outcomes becomes law?Or is it Just money that we are worried about like our Governor & hopefully ex-gov. feels we need to address!-(
on November 4,2013 | 07:03PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Jmhata - It's called representative democracy. Good stuff. Hawaii and the U.S. have it. Look it up.
on November 4,2013 | 07:29PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Yes, except when the politicians think they are above the people and have disdain for the people, not willing to trust the people to make decisions. There is no democracy in Hawaii. How silly can you be. We are owned by the democratic national party and by the unions.
on November 4,2013 | 08:01PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
"Suspicious activity during Saturday night's public hearing on a controversial same-sex marriage bill has prompted officials to change their procedures. Capitol officials confirm they're investigating who took a list of registered names and numbers from the check-in desk Saturday. Multiple sources say officials suspect the list was used to provide people who already testified with a new speaking number using another individual's name. They believe it may have also been used to allow people who had never signed up a chance to testify using someone else's registration number." Anti-SSM cheaters. What would Jesus say?
on November 4,2013 | 07:24PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Isn't the point to give everyone a voice? Not just those who were able to sign up within the specific timeframe. Gay Marriage is a traumatic change to our moral structure and fiber. Thus shouldn't those who have strong objections be allowed to speak? Would you want to limit one's free speech because they didn't get a registration number? You may call them cheaters but I would suggest that they are still exercising their freedom of speech.
on November 4,2013 | 07:55PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Kahu Matu - Let's stretch it out for another month - Ted Cruz foolibuster style. Let's get rid of all rules for testifiers. Let's steal the list and substitute whoever we want.
on November 4,2013 | 08:04PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Kahu Matu - Let's phony up the numbers for and against so we can use those "statistics" to prove a lie.
on November 4,2013 | 08:06PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
What I want to know is where did the Mormons park their 3,000 bicycles?
on November 4,2013 | 07:34PM
Makapuu4 wrote:
Rep. Marcus Oshiro used to be part of the House leadership (Finance Chair). He was on the losing side of a leadership battle. Who is he to question committee chairs?
on November 4,2013 | 07:42PM
BluesBreaker wrote:
It's precisely because he was on the losing side in the House reorganization that he's leading the charge to disrupt and delay the proceedings. He's a very bitter person and will seize any opportunity to make trouble for those who bested him and his faction.
on November 4,2013 | 08:32PM
Dcbriscoejr wrote:
The Hawaii legislative process has succumbed to the mob.
on November 4,2013 | 10:11PM
First-Responder wrote:
The Governor is in a tough spot. He wants same-sex marriage and wants it so bad he called the Legislator back into session only two months before it would regularly meet - at a great expense and a greater risk. Right now the testimony is going 5:1 against same-sex marriage. We now know that the resistance in the community is greater than anyone thought - well, at least those who think they know how the people feel. I am generally supportive of same-sex marriage however I'm opposed to homosexuality. People should be able to do what they want as long as it doesn't cause problems for others even if that decision is a poor one. It'll be interesting to see what happens if the House votes in favor of same-sex marriage despite the strong public opposition. Next year in an election year - I'll only be supporting those who actually represented my views.
on November 4,2013 | 10:38PM
CloudForest wrote:
Rules will be tightened about testifying ---- but, alas, the delegations from Sodom and Gomorrah will still be unavailable for comment or further discussion.
on November 4,2013 | 10:53PM
CloudForest wrote:
Gay does not mean you are happy and the rainbow is still a promise from God and not a coalition ...............
on November 4,2013 | 10:55PM
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