Hilo same-sex family testifies before House Representatives

Hilo same-sex family testifies before House Representatives
Published: Oct. 31, 2013 at 8:58 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 1, 2013 at 1:50 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Elsa Marie runs through the lobby of the State Capitol, from one mommy to the other.

Her parents, Elena Cabatu -- who gave birth to the one-year old, and Theresa Gennette -- who had to legally adopt the girl, have been partners for 10 years and now want to marry.

The Hilo family flew into O'ahu Thursday morning so that Cabatu could testify before House Representatives on the same-sex marriage bill.

"From a financial perspective, we have paid thousands," says Cabatu, who says it cost three thousand for Gennette to adopt Elsa Marie.

Cabatu was number 7 on the list of 4,031, but she still had to wait several hours.  Elsa Marie ran around, had lunch, then watched from a stroller as one of her mommies testified.

"You will determine equal rights," Cabatu told lawmakers, "you will determine if our future second child will be born in a new era of civil rights," she continued as the alarm sounded.  Each speaker only has two minutes.

"You will determine if Theresa and I will be able to marry next summer.  Thank you," she closed just before being cut-off.

Cabatu said she wished she had more time, but was grateful she had the opportunity to speak.

Another mother, Valerie Okimoto, held her own toddler as she watched testimony from the Capitol rotunda.

"I am for traditional marriage," says Okimoto.  "This bill is not conducive to the values I hold to be true."

Okimoto says she respects parents like Cabatu, but is not going to change her mind about the gay marriage bill.

Cabatu understands that, and says she is just happy she was able to add her two cents, even if it was only for two minutes.

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