Monday, October 28, 2013

Hawaii Legislature to tackle gay marriage today. Rallies, editorial opinions, prayer vigils precede historic special session and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hilo gay pride parade file photo (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Just hours before the opening of the same-sex special session, advocates on both sides of the issue are lining up at the State Capitol and Iolani Palace to voice their concerns. A gathering organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Transgender Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party attracted hundreds people at the state Capitol. The GLBT gathering came moments before the New Hope Church and New Hope Chapel Nanakuli hosted its own prayer vigil at Iolani Palace. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii lawmakers are coming back to the Capitol for a special session to consider legalizing gay marriage. Legislators say the bill to be introduced Monday morning has overwhelming support in the Senate and enough support in the House to pass. Associated Press.

Hawaii, which had a pioneering role in the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the United States two decades ago, could become the 15th state to extend marriage rights to gay couples when state lawmakers meet this week for a special session. Reuters.

A rally and worship service were preludes to activism planned for today at the state Capitol. Hundreds of gay rights advocates are staging a "lobby day" this morning. Thousands of opponents of gay marriage are expected for an afternoon demonstration. Star-Advertiser.

It's a pretty good bet that the Aloha State will become the 15th state to allow marriage between same-sex couples. If all goes as planned — that is, if legislators are able to agree on language that satisfies supporters of marriage equality while granting deference to religious expression — Hawaii will follow New Jersey, where gay marriages became legal just last week. Civil Beat.

Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters filled the state capitol rotunda Sunday afternoon as lawmakers get set to tackle the controversial same sex marriage bill on Monday. KITV.

Lawmakers will gather at the State Capitol Monday morning for a special session on several bills, but the most highly anticipated is a controversial proposal to legalize same-sex marriage. Senate leadership says the bill is expected to pass 21-4, but the real question has always been if the same-sex marriage bill will have the 26 votes it needs to pass in the House. Hawaii News Now.

Staffers at Senator Clayton Hee's office have been busy all weekend, sorting through dozens requests to testify in person. "We have evidently well over 1,000 who have indicated a desire to testify," Senator Clayton Hee said. KHON2.

State House Speaker Joseph Souki has rejected a request by House Republicans to remove Rep. Cynthia Thielen, the only Republican who supports same-sex marriage, from the House Judiciary Committee. Republicans, who are part of Souki's leadership coalition, wanted to replace Thielen with another Republican who opposes gay marriage. Star-Advertiser.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hold a hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 1, Relating to Equal Rights, on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at the State Capitol Auditorium. Hawaii Reporter.

We all know that a special session of the Hawaii Legislature is looking to elevate Hawaii to the ranks of states that offer equal treatment to adults who want to marry each other, regardless of a couple’s differing or similar anatomies. The surprise is that these laid-back islands famed for tolerance and a love of celebration — and home to the gayest population in the U.S. — will be the 15th state to let more people say “I do.”  Civil Beat.

Enormous social changes have come in the 23 years since three same-sex couples sued the state over their access to a marriage license. The Hawaii Constitution was amended by a popular vote, giving the Legislature the power to reserve marriage for heterosexual couples, the amendment passing with 53 percent of the vote. The lawsuit itself precipitated similar debates nationwide, culminating in Congress passing the Defense of Marriage Act. But now, amid a wave of changing attitudes across the country, DOMA has been struck down and Hawaii is one of more than a dozen states that have been rethinking the whole proposition. This is a development that we applaud. Star-Advertiser.

Some tribes allow gay couples to marry despite state bans. Associated Press.

Thousands of people working for the state’s 12-facility, community hospital system are making more money this year than last, according to a review of the latest salary information. But it’s not really a sign that things are getting better at the beleaguered Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which canned its CEO last summer and needs an emergency appropriation from the Legislature. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Education says it will need another $10.6 million to pay for utilities next year, a situation district officials blame on Hawaiian Electric Co.'s problems hooking up new solar. Civil Beat.

Nine environmental groups oppose nomination of Genevieve Salmonson as the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control. Hawaii Independent.

State roundup for October 28. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

While the recent pickup in Waikiki real estate values has been good for some property owners, it has created problems for senior renters displaced when long-term owners raise rents or sell. Leasehold evictions, expected to grow in Waikiki as owners take back their more valuable assets, could displace more seniors. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A tiny beetle that damages coffee beans continues its destructive march across the island of Hawaii, home to the famous Kona brew. State agriculture officials say at least one Hilo-area coffee farm is infested with the destructive coffee berry borer. Associated Press.

Maui
Anaergia Services, the California-based company selected by the county to create and operate a waste conversion facility at the Central Maui Landfill, pledged Tuesday to make an effort to incorporate more recycling into project plans. Maui News.

Kauai
A piece of tsunami debris will become a display of tribute and education, if negotiations go the right way. Those on board say talks are positive, meaning the Japanese buoy found floating near Kauai could become a memorial at Port Allen soon. Garden Island.