Hawaii LGBT community gather to show support for Orlando shootin - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii LGBT community gather to show support for Orlando shooting victims

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Michael Golojuch Jr., Chair of the LGBT caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party (Image: Hawaii News Now) Michael Golojuch Jr., Chair of the LGBT caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Jack Law, owner of Hula's Bar and Lei Stand (Image: Hawaii News Now) Jack Law, owner of Hula's Bar and Lei Stand (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Local community leaders and LGBT members in Hawaii are asking for prayers, peace and unity following the mass shootings in Orlando.

They also want to renew the conversation on tougher gun laws.

"It just breaks my heart to think that there's so much hatred to us and our community," said LGBT supporter Steven Stanfill.

It's the deadliest mass shooting in American history. At least 50 people are dead and another 53 injured, after 29-year old Omar Mateen opened fired early Sunday morning at a popular gay club in Orlando.

The tragedy is hitting close to home for many in the LGBT community in Hawaii.

"It will have a devastating ripple across our community, especially given that this is pride month," said Michael Golojuch Jr., chairman of the LGBT caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party.

Golojuch says the massacre serves as a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon.

Officials say Mateen used an AR-15 rifle to carry out the horrific crime.

"I want us to have a serious conversation about banning assault rifles, we need to do this," Golojuch said. "The second amendment should not have a bigger right than the right to life."

"We've been silent way too often when things like this happen. We need to speak out, be loud, they need to hear us that we will not let this horrible act of violence silence us or stop us in our fight for full equality for everybody."

Meanwhile at Hula's Bar and Lei Stand off Kapahulu Avenue, black ribbons hung alongside a rainbow flag to honor the memory of those killed.

"Once we get more information, it's going to hit closer and closer to the heart," said owner Jack Law.

"It's religion cloaked in hate and religion is supposed to be cloaked in love. We can't let a small minority color our opinion of humankind."

A rally sponsored by the LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii and Rainbow Family 808 was held for the shooting victims at Honolulu Hale, Sunday from 5 to 6 p.m.

Another candlelight vigil is being held at the Gandhi Statue in Kapiolani Park near Hula's Bar & Grill at 6:30 p.m. as well as a service for lament, prayer and healing at Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church in ‘Aina Haina at 7 p.m.

Mayor Caldwell released this statement expressing his support for the victims in Orlando:

"Like the rest of the country, I am in shock at what took place in Orlando and my heart breaks for the victims of this horrific act of violence. There's no room in our civil society for hatred against a particular group of people like we saw at the Pulse night club. We must all stand together against those that seek to change the very fabric of our nation because they disagree with our principles of liberty and freedom."

To honor the victims, Governor David Ige also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol and upon all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard in the State of Hawai‘i until sunset.

“We see on the news today yet another horrific instance of man’s inhumanity to man, triggered by the fear of differences. Let us reject fear and hostility. Let us embrace diversity. Let us affirm life,” Gov. Ige said. 

“Hawaii has some of the toughest laws regulating gun ownership in the nation. This presumed act of terror is a reminder that we cannot become complacent. We must do all that we can to ensure the public’s safety.”

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald of the Hawaii State Supreme Court, issued the following statement:

"This was a reprehensible act of terror and hate, which is repugnant to the ideals of equality and inclusiveness that are the foundation of our society. Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the victims and families affected by this horrific tragedy."

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