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Pastors in support of same-sex marriage confronted by protesters

By Pat Gee

LAST UPDATED: 9:35 p.m. HST, Nov 6, 2013

Forty Christian pastors who are in favor of legalized same-sex marriage and about 60 of their supporters linked raised arms and sang "Amazing Grace" after being confronted at the state Capitol rotunda by opponents of the bill being discussed today by House lawmakers.

The gay-marriage opponents tried to shout down the pastors who were holding a news conference at noon at the rotunda.

Protesters with bullhorns and carrying a Hawaii Family Advocates banner and Hawaiian flags surrounded the clergy meeting, overwhelming the group with a non-stop chant of "Let the people vote!"  

The Rev. Jonipher Kupono Kwong of the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu said the pastors wanted legislators who are undecided on marriage equality to know that not all religious leaders are against gay marriage, in spite of the avalanche of protest at the Capitol.

He said, "Those behind me represent just some of the Christian denominations and they are here to tell you unequivocally that it's not God against gays. It's God against homophobia or discrimination against any of God's children." 

The Rev. Walter Brownridge, dean of the Cathedral of St. Andrews, said, "I started the song to counter the chanting ... It got a little ugly." 

Opponents left the news conference five minutes later, but continued to be a vocal presence in the rotunda throughout the afternoon as lawmakers debated various amendments to the same-sex marriage bill in the House chamber.

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