Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Hawaii lawmakers hold off on amending constitution to protect same-sex marriage

State’s definition of marriage can change depending on political climate

A bill aimed at closing a loophole concerning the legality of same-sex marriage in the state stalled in this legislative session.

The Hawaii Marriage Equality Act legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, but Article 1 Section 23 of the state constitution allows the legislature to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples. The bill, Senate Bill 897, proposes an amendment to the Hawaii state constitution confirming no future restrictions could be placed on same-sex marriage in the state.

Members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community in Honolulu believe the bill is a step forward for the civil rights of people in Hawaii, especially for younger generations.

“It slowly normalizes that we can get married anywhere and everywhere,” said Lucy Moore, a member of the LGBTQ+ community on Oahu.

But members of Oahu’s religious communities express concerns over the bill.

“I would be opposed to it as a citizen and as a Christian. I would not condemn anyone who is in a same-sex relationship, I would love them the same—but I would still stand firm to the teachings of the Bible that in its action and its practices is a sin,” said Pastor Maiola Vivas, from One Love Church.

While the bill generated debate, some believe it won’t have much of an impact, whether it passes or not.

“Hawaii has a long history of gender nonconforming relationships. I can’t imagine it would impact the community too much because we do as we do and as we have always done anyway,” said Nico Aviles-low, a Hawaiian member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I don’t think it would do much to change the community either. Hawaii is a very unique state. If you want to see how Hawaii votes, go outside on New Year’s at about midnight. The law says fireworks are illegal, the people say ‘no it’s not’,” Vivas said.

Senator Joy A. San Buenaventura says the bill intends to be a preemptive step for the protection of Hawaii’s civil rights.

“If we pass this, then at least within the state constitution we will retain, LGBTQ+ people, will retain the right to marry within the current standards,” said Senator Buenaventura. “The bill might not immediately affect the state’s LGBTQ+ community, but it will uphold the protection of their civil rights here in Hawaii and ensure that same-sex marriage rights become independent of the legislature’s political climate.”

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Emma Davidson
Emma Davidson, Contributor
My name is Emma Davidson, and I am a sophomore at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I am pursuing a degree in Journalism on the pre-law track. I am very passionate about writing and would like to get more into investigative reporting. I want to write more about rising social and political issues in different communities around the world, and possibly work as a foreign correspondent. I feel very grateful for this opportunity to go to school on Oahu and learn more about the Hawaiian culture and community. I have a multimedia journalism blog called "Through The Scope," if you are interested. There are many stories about our community here in Honolulu, as well as some other places. The link is provided below under Portfolio Link.

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