Hundreds more testify on day three of same-sex hearing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hundreds more testify on day three of same-sex marriage bill hearing

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Testimony was passionate but less chaotic Saturday as members of the state House Judiciary and Finance Committees heard testimony for a third day at the State Capitol.

Even though thousand signed up to speak before lawmakers, four times that number submitted written testimony before Thursday night's midnight deadline, according to the House Clerk's office. 

The office also said that opinion was almost evenly divided in the 20,000 pieces of written testimony, which also counted petition signatures.

When the hearing resumed at 9 a.m., dozens of people were already waiting in line to have their say on Senate Bill 1, which would legalize same-sex marriages in Hawaii. Dozens more also waited to seats to open up in the Capitol Auditorium so that they could attend the hearing.

Much of the spoken testimony was against the bill.

"I'm at home and I'm watching all this testimony going on, and it's just a lot of negative talk, negative feelings and such," said Alvin Law, who testified in support of the measure.

As in the previous two days, much of the testimony centered over the religious exemptions in the measure. Most said they were not enough to protect churches that are opposed to same-sex marriages.

"I won't be able to preach against homosexuality, saying that it's a sin," said Ellie Kapihe, pastor of the Windward Missionary Church. "It prevents me from doing my job of exercising freedom of religion and freedom of speech."

Even after three days of spoken testimony and six days of a special legislative session, some lawmakers feel it's still not enough.

"Before this bill got introduced in the legislature, remember, we only had six days to review this," said Rep. Richard Fale (R-North Shore, Punaluu, Kaaawa). "It's hugely problematic for making such a change."

"Not all these people, this doesn't represent the majority of Hawaii. They just represent the majority of people that had time to give their testimonies," said Law.

Both sides also continued sign-waving at the Capitol, which they said also sends a message to legislators.

"So the community is making a statement even though they may not be testifying," said Kapihe.

The hearing is expected to continue into the evening. Lawmakers said earlier that they would take a break on Sunday and resume the hearing Monday.

Previous story: Chaos erupts at Capitol on second day of gay marriage testimony

 

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