April 9, 1996

Fierce Parliamentary Maneuvering

Last Thursday, Senator Milton Holt played fast and loose with parliamentary rules, earning the praise of Father Mark Alexander for "courage", by gutting a bill that would de-license doctors who have sex with their patients and putting in its place a bill to define marriage to between a man and a woman only. This earned Holt the contempt of the Honolulu Advertiser (Saturday morning) and sharp criticism from a number of Senators. For example, Senator Ros Baker accused Holt of
encouraging public cynicism about legislative processes. Holt did all this as Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee.

Holt wouldn't let hermp's lobbyist have a copy of the inserted text until after the meeting began, making a mockery of public review and comment, while opponents of same gender marriage had been alerted as to what's up. Committee members such as Vice-Chair Les Ihara and Senator David Ige were likewise deceived as to the intent of the committee meeting.

For those of you who are (thankfully) spared a profound knowledge of Hawaii political characters, Senator Holt has had a troubled married and personal life: wife-beating, assaulting a policeman in New Orleans, and letting his wife and kids live for three months in a car on Sand Island Access Road (source: Barry Shain).

However, in a 7 hour closed caucus of the Senate democrats, Holt won something. The language which he inserted into the doctor bill will be put in a Senate Judiciary Committee bill on the use of "and" and "or" in statutory language. Judiciary Chair Rey Graulty, and HERMP attorney Dan Foley, both point out that the bill is ineffective---the courts can review it and will likely strike it down. This tranfer of the language to a Graulty bill ensures that Senator Graulty will have a say in the House-Senate Conference Committee on the bill.

Hawaii's Future Today praised the Senate's action as keeping the issue alive and permitting a later opportunity to turn the bill into a constitutional amendment to ban same gender marriage [the key threat to HERMP's successful court case]. Presumably, Hawaii's Future Today intends to attempt that change in the bill today on the Senate floor, later on the House floor, or in the conference committee. 

In the quiet, low budget world of hermp's lobbying, 7 more religious leaders public support civil same gender marriage: Rev. Judy Sakae (Church Ke'auhou), Rev. Darrow L. K. Aiona (Episcopalian), The Rev. Canon John Paul Engelcke (Episcopalian), Rabbi Stephan F. Barack (Temple Bet Shalom), Rev. Johanna Perri (Windward Unity Church), Rev. Ken Armstrong (American Fellowship Church), Rabbi Avi Magid (Temple Emanu-El).

Best Regards,

Tom Ramsey
HERMP Co-Coordinator

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:

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