Tuesday, October 6, 1998

Linking of marriage debate,
abortion called ‘outrageous’

By Mike Yuen


Verbal warfare over a proposed state constitutional amendment that could prohibit same-sex marriage has escalated, with debate veering to another issue -- abortion.

Igniting the latest round of rhetorical fireballs is a 30-second television spot now airing that is sponsored by Protect Our Constitution/Human Rights Campaign. The campaign is the nation's largest gay rights organization.

In it, Dr. Jennifer Frank says she is "frightened" that groups advocating a "yes" vote on the ballot measure that would give the Legislature the power to limit marriage to one man and one woman also "intend to repeal abortion laws -- taking away a woman's right to choose.

"They plan to alter the Constitution's Bill of Rights to impose their narrow agenda on the rest of us. We need to tell them -- no. You can't steal a woman's right to choose."

Mike Gabbard and Leon Siu, two of the isles' leading foes of homosexual marriage, who are also opposed to abortion, said yesterday that POC/HRC is engaging in a "campaign of deception."

"The ads," said Gabbard, "are outrageous, totally deceptive." The PAC he chairs, the Alliance for Traditional Marriage-Hawaii, and another PAC with which he is associated, Save Traditional Marriage-'98, have focused on same-gender marriage -- not the constitutionally approved right to abortion, Gabbard said.

Siu added: "The rest of the rhetoric being coughed up by POC/HRC about 'discrimination,' 'civil rights' and now, 'abortion rights' and so forth, are smoke screens to conceal from the public the real agenda of POC/HRC -- the legalization of homosexual marriage."

Jackie Young, campaign director of Protect Our Constitution, asserted that the religious right wants to ban gay marriage as the first step in a larger agenda to erode the Bill of Rights.

She added: "While this is an issue of same-sex marriage right now on the surface, the next one will be the woman's right to choose."

But a recent fund-raising letter sent by the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign for its Hawaii effort makes no mention of abortion rights being under attack. The letter, signed by Executive Director Elizabeth Birch, does say: "We simply cannot allow the enemies of gay and lesbian families to destroy the remarkable dream of same-gender marriage before it has a chance to come true."

Gabbard has said same-sex marriage is part of "a radical homosexual activist" agenda that includes gays and lesbians teaching sex education courses in which homosexuality is presented as a healthy lifestyle like heterosexuality.

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