Civil rights panel plansBy Mary Adamski
hearing about sexual
The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission plans a hearing to seek testimony about anti-gay and anti-lesbian discrimination and violence.
Commissioners also called for hate crimes legislation and amendment of Hawaii's civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing and public accommodations.
The initiatives were announced in a news release yesterday that refers to recent incidents of violence against gay men.
In one case, a Honolulu jury last week found a defendant guilty of misdemeanor assault in the beating death of a gay man. The other was the fatal beating of a gay University of Wyoming student.
"These two cases have shocked our conscience," said the commissioners in a release. "Our condolences go out to the families and friends of Kenneth Brewer and Matthew Shepard in their sorrow and grief. Their tragic deaths should also serve to awaken our collective conscience and force us to consider the kind of society we aspire to, and move us to prevent senseless acts of anti-gay violence."
The question of whether the sexual orientation of victims, attorneys or witnesses unfairly affect Hawaii's justice system should be studied by the Judiciary Committee on Gender and Other Fairness, according to the Civil Rights Commission release.
It also urged that the Legislature appropriate money to implement a diversity education program in public schools as a measure to head off discrimination.
Hawaii's civil rights laws now prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation.
Commission meetingThe Hawaii Civil Rights Commission will discuss the initiatives against gay-bashing and other discrimination.
When: Tuesday Oct. 20
Time: 11 a.m.
Where: Room 411 of the state Labor Department building.
Clergy defend traditionalBy Gary T. Kubota
WAILUKU -- A group of Maui religious ministers say they object to recent attempts to paint people who support "traditional marriage" as opposed to civil rights.
"We believe in civil rights. We advocate human rights in the strongest of terms," said Dale Kreps, president of the Maui Christian Ministers Association, representing more than 25 ministers.
"We're just standing opposed to legalization of same-sex marriage. We are for traditional marriage and we are opposed to changing the definition of traditional marriage."
Kreps, pastor of the Pukalani Community Church of the Nazarene, was among ministers holding a news conference today in support of a state constitutional amendment on traditional marriage.
Those who oppose the amendment, including the Japanese American Citizens League, say the measure singles out homosexuals as a group for condemnation and deprives them of basic rights.
They say it also opens the door for other minorities to face exclusion from civil rights.
"What this amendment does is chip away at the Bill of Rights," said Steve Okino, an official with Protect Our Constitutional Rights.
Kreps said the basis of the Christian ministers' support is the Bible, which describes homosexuality as unnatural.
Still, Kreps said he hasn't always agreed with the advertising backed by a traditional marriage coalition, and said the issue should be discussed in a serious manner.
Kreps also took issue with those who say there is an organized effort to first win the traditional marriage issue, then try to outlaw abortion.