January 8, 1997

The Evolution Of A Legislator

It is now obvious to EVERYONE that, unless the legislature changes Hawaii's Constitution, same-gender marriage will be a reality in Hawaii soon (1998?).  So the pressure is intense on the legislature to do something this session (it would still have to wait for the Nov. 1998 election for final approval by the voters).

The favored strategy by the opponents to same-gender marriage is to somehow marry a (potential) ban on same-gender marriage with a domestic partnership "compromise".  If our opponents win, this would in itself be a great victory -- no other state has yet passed a statewide domestic partnership.  For some people, straight, gay or lesbian, domestic partnership is the preferred term (perhaps avoiding certain religious overtones).  IT SHOULD IN ITSELF BE AVAILABLE TO COUPLES, HETEROSEXUAL OR NOT.

But, it is "half the loaf", second-class citizenship, separate and unequal.  For example, health benefits provided under DP to a partner are TAXED by the Federal government.  Health benefits provided to a spouse or children of an employee are not (under marriage).  And what about the federal income tax deduction, immigration rights, the right to decline to testify against a "spouse" in federal court, etc?  So, why we welcome the gradual enlightenment of the Hawaii legislature, let us not forget what made domestic partnership the compromise position:  we work, and continue to work, for equality, equality, equality, under the law.

I'll close with a short history of Speaker Joe Souki's relationships with h.e.r.m.p:

1993, 1994, 1995:  refused to meet with h.e.r.m.p lobbyist or any other marriage activists
1996, spring:  met with Tracey Bennett, h.e.r.m.p's part-time lobbyist but warned that nothing she said would change his mind.  The meeting was cordial and ended with an agreement to disagree.
Nov. 1996:  On election night, Speaker Souki averred that they'd have to do some domestic partnership because the gays and lesbians weren't going to go away
Jan.  1997:  some kind of domestic partnerships will be in the majority packet for the House
It's a remarkable evolution.

Yes, we're not going away.

                        Best Regards,

                        Tom Ramsey
                        President, Friends of h.e.r.m.p
                        Ex-Officio, h.e.r.m.p Steering Committee

P.S.  Donations to h.e.r.m.p support the court case (we're the only ones who pay Dan Foley's legal fees) and support limited lobbying as permitted of 501(c)(3) organizations under IRS regulations.  Donations are fully tax-deductible, and may be made to h.e.r.m.p,  PO Box 11690, Honolulu, HI 96828.

h.e.r.m.p is a project of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Honolulu.  The Tax ID of the GLCC is 23-7387405.  Copies of the 1995 Form 990, as required by law, are available for public viewing at the GLCC (951-7000).  The 1995 Form 990 is about 20 pages.

h.e.r.m.p's lobbying activities are fully reported to the State of Hawaii as required by law.  The lobbying reports are public record and may be viewed at the appropriate state office.

h.e.r.m.p's accounts have been supervised by a Ph.D. Professor of Accounting and/or a CPA tax accountant throughout its history.

To verify any of the above, please telephone attorney Dan Foley, (808) 526-9500.

Back to Latest Updates
Back to Home