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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The special session on same-sex marriages is a little more than three weeks, away but the lobbying efforts are already in high gear.
More than 500 people attended a rally the state Capitol today to oppose the legalization of same sex marriages. The rally was organized by the United Fellowship of Churches, which wants the issue decided at the ballot box and not by the state Legislature.
"We want to shoot it down. We want to bring it down," said Bishop Soara Tupua Jr. of the Holy Hill of Zion Thy Dwelling Place Church in Waianae.
"Let the people vote, let the people decide. Don't make it a special session and you decide for us. We want the people to say, this is what we want. That we have a say in the same-sex marriages."
But advocates for same-sex marriages say the state constitution is clear as to who gets the final say on the issue.
"In 1998, the constitutional amendment contemplated -- if you look at the language -- that the Legislature would have the power to decide this issue," said state Rep. Della Au Belatti.
Au Belatti said she supports same sex marriages because it's the right thing to do.
"We know that families are being disadvantaged by not being able to get federal benefits. So it's a matter of equality."
Many of those who attended today's event believe that most voters oppose same-sex marriages.
"I feel very strongly that the word marriage connotation between two people, a man and a woman," said Kathy Kane of East Honolulu.
Added Aiea resident Liz Chow: "I believe the people of Hawaii should be able to vote on the same sex marriage issue."
Lawmakers say the rally is just one of many to come on same-sex marriage debate -- a debate that's expected to heat up as the October 28th special session gets closer.