March 6, 1996

Hawaii House and Senate Bills Crossover

Tuesday, March 5, Hawaii's Senate approved a domestic partnership bill by a vote of 14 to 11. On the other hand, Hawaii's House approved a constitutional amendment to ban same-gender marriage, by a vote of 38 to 14. The 38 to 14 vote meets the 2/3 needed, if likewise passed in the Senate, to put the constitutional amendment before the voters in November. Now, each bill crosses over to the other house for further consideration.

The 38 to 14 vote was much better than the 41 to 6 vote which occurred the previous Friday, but not enough to block the 2/3 vote the majority needed. HERMP volunteers telephoned, wrote and visited legislators over the weekend.

Rep. Jim Shon raised a major FEDERAL constitutional problem with the proposed amendment, in that the amendment does not distinguish between private church practice (some churches celebrate same-gender marriages) and civil marriage. The objection seemed only to annoy Terrance Tom (Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who said many times over three years that he would not vote for a constitutional amendment, but is a proponent of it). Terrance Tom's response on the House floor to Jim Shon seemed like a tantrum (of the I-don't-want-listen-to-this variety).  The TV footage is memorable.

One of the more awful reports, but widely believed, is that some of our "supportive" legislators sold out to preserve a controversial retirement plan for state lawmakers. One source for this story is Rep. Cynthia Thielen of Kailua (Republican), who has been reporting it to her constituents. Cynthia is of course telling stories out of school on the behavior of Democratic colleagues. Which doesn't make the stories false.

                Tom Ramsey
                Hawaii Equal Rights Marriage

P.S. Web sites for HERMP information:
For the official report of the Commission on Sexual Orientation and the Law:

For national as well as Hawaii information:

The Hawaii Equal Rights Marriage Project, HERMP, is the sole support of the work of Dan Foley on Baehr v. Lewin (Foley is the attorney who makes all court appearances on behalf of the plaintiff couples). Please be generous in support of HERMP; Hawaii is a small state, and the tiny gay and lesbian community here is very active in advocacy work which HERMP cannot address.

Donations to HERMP are fully tax-deductible, and should be made out to
1521 Alexander Street, #503
Honolulu, HI 96822.

The HERMP branch in Kona, on the Big Island, has produced a T-shirt for sale. One can send a check for $17.50 to HERMP, P.O.Box 902, Captain Cook, HI 96704, together with a note about being sent a T-shirt (S, M, L, XL, XXL). It is also available in a tank top. The design is multi-color on white. A large triangle points down, with the letters h.e.r.m.p above the triangle, some male-male, female-female symbols in the border of the triangle and some palm trees. To place an email order for T-shirts, or to obtain more information, please email An image of the T-shirt is available via the WEB on

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