Gay art stirs controversy at state capitol - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Gay art stirs controversy at state capitol

Christine Nakama Christine Nakama
Tara O'Neil Tara O'Neil
Tambry Young Tambry Young

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The civil unions bill could live or die Friday after the state house meets behind closed doors to decide if they'll hold a vote on the issue. In the meantime, photographs featuring gay and lesbian couples are on display inside the state capitol creating its own controversy.

A picture is worth a thousand words and perhaps a thousand opinions as well. "It doesn't look right to me. It doesn't represent my family and the family of the majority of the people of the voters of this island," said Christine Nakama, a Honolulu resident.

"It puts a face to what we're talking about, I mean these are people and its their lives," said Tara O'Neil of Pride of Alliance Hawaii.

The portraits are part of an exhibit called 'New Perspective on Traditional Values', which showcase the lives of gay and lesbian couples. But on Friday lawmakers will walk past the images to cast their votes on the civil unions bill.

Tambry Young of Equality Hawaii said "the stories are compelling and it would have an affect on a wide range of people. We hope it would affect people." The timing is no coincidence, Equality Hawaii produced the pictures with captions like "Not Just Roommates," "The Struggle for Equality," and "Making History". "We went through the proper channels to put the exhibit up a whole outline of what the exhibit would entail went along with the permit. It was approved," said Young.

The State Department of Accounting and General Services did receive the groups application and approved it, as long as the material displayed does not disrupt government. The materials also can not make it appear the state is for, or against an issue. But the director says this violates the rule and the art will come down.

Tambry Young of Equality Hawaii said, "I don't know what we could put up that wouldn't say the state is supporting some type of issue." The Equality Hawaii Exhibit was scheduled to come down Friday and the group says the pictures will be on display at Border's Bookstore next month.

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