UPDATE (7 November 2013): The day ended with a feeling of victory. SB1 survived the second vote in the Hawaii State House. It moves on for its third reading on Friday morning; the House is convening at 10 am. Although many of us were stunned and wounded with the hate that we witnessed yesterday, we were also encouraged and supported with the aloha within our community and network of SB1 supporters. Thank you for spreading and sharing love in the face of such bigotry.
SB1 Update: Yesterday evening SB1 (shorthand: the marriage equality bill) passed out of the Hawaii State House Judiciary and Finance committees. This morning it went the House floor for deliberation and initial vote. There has been a vocal group in opposition of SB1 that has maintained a presence at the capitol building. This afternoon, I walked over to be witness for my family and support for our supporters. Below is the letter that I wrote to Hawaii state legislators upon my return.
I just returned from spending 45 minutes witnessing the hatred and bigotry on display at our capitol rotunda. When I walked up the stairs, I was faced with a loud crowd chanting “let me vote!” – and although obviously influenced by misinformation and misguided rationale (another discussion for another time) – what slammed me in the body, soul and heart was a tidal wave of horrible and confrontational maliciousness. In less than 10 seconds, I was openly crying. My na’au stabbed with pain. Thankfully, a friend saw me, came to me, put her arms around me and just held on.
I’m a local girl – born and raised in Kailua. I brought my son home to live in a place that models and respects diversity. My wife (yes, I call her my “wife” as she and I have committed ourselves to the family that we have created and we choose – day in and day out – to walk hand in hand through this life) and I serve our community and try to be good people. To see that much animosity and hatefulness targeting people because of difference wounded me. It’s wounded my belief in this place and it’s damaged my confidence in the people of this community that I call home.
There has been a lot of discussion in a variety of circles that there are legislators that are hesitant to support marriage equality because they could lose their seats in the next election. Although I understand the desire for self-preservation, you have chosen to take on a job to foster a civil society that recognizes and protects the rights of all – not just a select few, or the loud few, or the chanting few, or the rich few, or the religious few. Civil rights are not determined by a majority (perceived or real). You have chosen to do a tough job, and now is where you must demonstrate whether or not you have the conviction and integrity to carry out your duties as a legislator for ALL people in Hawaii – not just your chosen favorites.
I am more-than-a-little-bit heartbroken right now, after witnessing the horribleness of people in my home community. I hope that you – as our civic leaders – will begin to put thought and effort into the next steps that need to happen after the resolution of SB1. This process has caused much conflict and created much toxicity in our community; there is much healing that needs to be done.
Lisa Seese-Paterson & ‘ohana