Supporters and opponents react to Marriage Equality vote
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was a very different atmosphere at the State Capitol from last week. There wasn't any chanting or shouting from opponents. In fact only a few dozen opponents were here watching outside. Meanwhile supporters were upbeat knowing they were on the brink of history.
Cheers and applause erupted at the moment the Senate passed the Marriage Equality bill 19-4. There were plenty of hugs and then dancing. Supporters did the electric slide and then busted out in song.
"I'm ecstatic. I'm so happy that for the first time I'll say, that' I've been here 10 years, I stand out a little bit, I know that right now, this week, today, I actually feel a part of the cloth of this state," said Hector Hoyos, Universal Life Church Ordained Minister and SB1HB1 supporter. "I don't feel second class anymore. I feel like I have as many rights as anyone else does. I can hold my head up high and know we are a very active part of this community and when we need to come together we do."
"It's a sense of dignity and it's also sense of legal protection in those times when we may need those rights," said Alan Spector, SB1HB1 supporter, standing with his husband Jon-Paul Bingham. "This is the first time in our 14 years of marriage that our federal government and our home state actually recognizes us as the married couple that we are."
Valerie Smith's first child is due today. She and her partner Nathalie Sowers are thrilled he'll be born in a time with marriage equity.
"Nothing means family more than marriage does so in a way this binds us all together," said Valerie Smith, SB1HB1 supporter.
Meanwhile opponents weren't angry but they were disappointed. So will there ever be a time when opponents accept same sex marriage?
"Over time it might be but I think it will be a long healing process and I think both sides have to come together and have some sort of healing," said Walter Yoshimitsu, Catholic Church of Honolulu Deacon, SB1HB1 opponent.
"Accepting same sex marriage no. Accepting homosexuals yes. I think that's already been the case," said Dave Willweber, Mauka Makai Ministries, SB1HB1 opponent.
"I'm disappointed but I'm not surprised. We've already voiced our opposition but we knew from the beginning this was a rushed session. It was already stacked against us," said Klayton Ko, First Assembly of God Pastor, SB1HB1 opponent. "Once the Constitution is not respected then everything else is open for any kind of law that's passed."
"You know we forgive them. I love them still. I'm just a little confused and we'll get over it too. We'll all get over it," said Hoyos.
There was one disrespectful moment. While supporters sang Aloha 'Oe an opponent repeatedly said 'you don't deserve that song,' but he was ignored and it didn't escalate.
Supporters now look forward to the bill signing Wednesday morning at 10:00 am. The first day same sex couples can get married in Hawaii is December 2, 2013.
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