Thursday, August 27, 1998

Women voters
league opposes
same-sex ballot

An anti-gay marriage PAC
says that's 'disturbing'

By Mike Yuen


A group spearheading the effort to ban same-sex marriage says it is "disturbing" the League of Women Voters of Hawaii has abandoned its traditional neutral stance and is opposing a ballot measure that would give the Legislature the authority to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

But Jean Aoki, president of the isle league, insists that the league is not taking a stand on same-sex marriage.

By joining the isle political action committee Protect Our Constitution in a $54,000 television and radio campaign opposing the proposed constitutional amendment, the league is simply reaffirming its position that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution extend to all people, including gays, and should not be rolled back, she said.

Arlene Kim Ellis, who has chaired the league's legislative committee, said, "Nonpartisan doesn't mean nonpolitical."

The league advocates campaign finance reform and is now fighting a proposal to have the Honolulu mayor appoint the city auditor since it believes the auditor should be independent, she noted.

Jennifer Diesman, a spokeswoman for Save Traditional Marriage-'98, an isle PAC, took exception to Aoki's statement that the league isn't taking a position on same-sex marriage.

"If you vote no, you are voting for same-sex marriage -- plain and simple."

Diesman added: "Placing the authority to define marriage in the Constitution isn't about taking rights away from people. No one will lose any right they have."

The league and Protect Our Constitution yesterday launched a 30-second TV spot that features Aoki.

The TV and radio spots are in reaction to a broadcast and print campaign that Hawaii Family Forum launched last week. The forum "upped the ante" when it came out early with its TV campaign, said Jackie Young, campaign director for Protect Our Constitution.

Aoki said the league has budgeted nearly $10,000 to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment and another measure that asks voters whether a constitutional convention should be convened.

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