HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell was a last-minute guest speaker at the downtown event celebrating the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriages in all 50 states. "This issue, plain and simple, is about civil rights," said Caldwell. "And I'm so proud standing here today, one year -- what should have happened years ago -- that we brought equality to everyone to fall in love and marry whoever they want."
But like others in the room, the mayor's thoughts were also on the deadly shooting at an Orlando nightclub two weeks ago. "I'm also here because what happened in Orlando. And I know each one of you in this room carries that in your heart and soul," said Caldwell. Added Tambry Young, president for the Citizens for Equal Rights: "What happened in Orlando was just terrible. We were singled out and he went in there and caused this horrific crime," she said.
The Democratic Party's LGBT Caucus organized the anniversary celebrations. Caucus Chair Michael Golojuch said some questioned whether the event should go on in light of the Orlando tragedy. "We were like no, if we do that then hate wins," said Golojuch. More than 75 people attended the event at a downtown restaurant. A silent auction and a calabash set aside for employees at the nightclub collected more than $750.
LGBT activists say the high court's ruling provided momentum to pursue other goals such as seeking equal rights for transgendered citizens and banning controversial conversion therapy for children. "As much as we've come so far, there's still so much more we have to do," said Young.