Supporters, opponents of same-sex couples rally - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Supporters, opponents of same-sex couples rally

Robert Meff Robert Meff
Elijah Yip Elijah Yip
Celcilia Fordham Celcilia Fordham

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While many believe stimulating the economy and ending school furloughs should be at the forefront for the state Legislature, extending benefits for same-sex partners is also expected to be a hot-button issue.

It's a topic that draws passionate reaction from both sides of the debate. On Sunday, supporters and opponents of same-sex couples held separate rallies to state their position on a civil unions bill that's expected to go before state lawmakers.

A sea of white. A unified group. Young and old gathered to show their support for traditional marriage.

"The idea that men with men and women with women, the Bible clearly teaches this is a perversion and if it goes on unrepented of, God will bring judgment on an entire nation," Robert Meff, traditional marriage supporter, said.

According to organizers of this rally, a poll conducted two months ago showed 66% of Hawaii residents were against gay marriage. Folks expressed their opposition to a civil unions bill that would grant same-sex partners the benefits that married couples enjoy, such as the ability to file state income tax returns jointly.

"I think it really is just a masquerade for the next step," Elijah Yip, traditional marriage supporter, said. "It's obviously a very political issue and the way you get at this is incrementally and so this is just a step towards that direction. So, yeah, I can't support that."

At the same time, members of various faith-based groups flocked to St. Clement's Episcopal Church to embrace the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

"To be sure that this is a place, I guess a place of peace, to reflect on the very important issues in our lives and civil unions happens to be one of those," Celcilia Fordham, Interfaith Alliance Hawaii, said.

Organizers of this service say they support any effort that promotes equality and social justice.

"We believe that civil rights should never, never be denied and it should always be at the forefront of all our elected officials," Tambry Young, Equality Hawaii, said.

Meanwhile, some Catholics showed up at the Capitol rally to say, while they do not believe in same-sex marriage, they do feel that denying legal rights based on sexual orientation is wrong.

One lawmaker is introducing a measure that would once again have voters define what a valid marriage should be.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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