March 27, 1996 (1)

Religious Political Extremists Increase
the Pressure on Hawaii's Senators

"Hawaii's Future Today", with deep connections to leaders of the Mormon Church and the Roman Catholic hierarchy, has broadcast numerous messages on TV and radio, asking constituents to contact 13 Senators (listed by name) to "Let The People Decide" same-gender marriage. These 13 Senators are among the 14 who voted for Senator Graulty's domestic partnership bill (which passed the Senate 14 to 11, but is stalled in the House). Hawaii's Future Today wants two-thirds of the Senate to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage, which would then be voted upon by the public in the fall election (requiring only a majority vote then).

Simultaneously, 3/4 page ads were placed in Honolulu's daily papers with the same message, and demonstrations were staged on three islands (including Senator Graulty's district on Oahu). The three leaders of Hawaii's Future Today are working the Senate everyday, trying to pick off one vote or another [the three leaders are Debbie Hartman (formerly of the elected school board), Father Mark Alexander (chief theologian of the Roman Catholic diocese), and Jack Hoag (Mormon leader, member of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii, former executive of First Hawaiian Bank)].

Demonstrators protested outside political fundraisers for Senator Matt Matsunaga Monday night (he was the only vote on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for creating same-gender marriage NOW by legislative act).  More demonstrators picketed tonight (Wednesday night) outside a political fundraiser for Senator Avery Chumbley, one of the 4 person majority on the Committee on the Judiciary voting AGAINST a constitutional ban on same-gender marriage. 

HERMP may be holding its own in this struggle, but it's hard to tell. HERMP's part-time lobbyist, Tracey Bennett, is making the rounds of senators. HSTA, the state teacher's union, passed a resolution this week opposing any efforts to take civil rights away from people.  The proposed constitutional ban on same-gender marriage would do this, since Hawaii's courts are poised to grant same-gender marriage under the present constitution. Will the stalemate hold?

                Tom Ramsey
                Hawaii Equal Rights Marriage

Web sites for HERMP information:

For the official report of the Commission on Sexual Orientation and
the Law:

For legal documents related to Baehr v. Lewin (now Baehr v. Miike):
which has a link to marriage and Baehr v. Lewin

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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