Hawaii churches gather to oppose a gay marriage special session
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While Hawaii lawmakers work on a marriage equality bill today pastors from 100 churches signed a declaration to stand against same sex marriage and urge lawmakers not to go into a special session.
"It's a matter of colliding convictions it's not so much discrimination as much as it is disagreement," said Norman Nakanishi, Grace Bible Pearlside Senior Pastor. "It's not personal, but it's a belief based on the word of God."
"God's way is the best way marriage between one man and one woman," said Margaret Scow, Emmanuel Temple The House of Praise Leader.
"Because this is not against gays it's not bashing any of them it's the rights of we as a people of faith want to protect," said Wayne Cordeiro, New Hope Christian Fellowship Founding Pastor. "If it's a racial issue, gender, no big deal but this is a moral issue that we will have to face."
They are concerned that if same sex marriage becomes law they'll get sued if they deny a homosexual couple access to their facilities.
"We are fighting for the rights of pastors and Christians who have a conscience and we say I'm sorry we can't do that. Will we then be discriminated against because it's not law," said Cordeiro.
House lawmakers plan to meet this Wednesday. A draft of a marriage equality bill is already in the works with an exemption protecting churches that's stronger than the civil union law.
"It basically says that if particular churches don't want to participate in these ceremonies they don't have to and they're not going to be forced to," said State Representative Chris Lee, (D) Kailua Waimanalo, who is a proponent of marriage equality.
"That's never the case. Businesses, individuals and churches have all gotten sued for not complying with same sex marriage," said Scow, who says there have been lawsuits in other states with same sex marriage laws.
"It has so many loopholes in it as of yet," said Cordeiro.
They worry a special session will just push it through in a week or two without their voice being heard.
"We're here saying whoa, let's not rush the bus here because this will have implications moving forward in all of society," said Nakanishi.
"I think it's important that we move ahead soon in the special session because we can't afford to delay justice. Justice delayed is justice denied and people deserve equality and equal treatment right now," said Rep. Lee. "I think as we look back 20 years down the road we're going to see this as just another form of racial discrimination. Perhaps we'll look back and say why didn't we do something to fix this sooner."
The number of churches that supports marriage equality is also growing. Hawaii United for Marriage announced today more than 50 have pledged support and vow to fight until its law.
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