Please say 'no' to religious persecutionAn excellent Star-Bulletin editorial (Oct. 10) supported a bill to place sanctions against governments engaging in religious persecution. We must be equally vigorous in fighting religious persecution in our own country and in Hawaii, for underlying the politics of the religious right, whether on birth control, abortion, sex education or sexual behaviors and lifestyles, is one form of religious persecution.
Forcing people to mold their behaviors and lives according to laws based on religious doctrine is religious persecution. No matter who our forefathers were, our country was created and its Constitution fashioned not to promote religion or religions, but to escape persecution.
Conflict between religious and civil law is not new, nor are amendments to the Constitution. What is new is that never before has any religious group or legislator used personal beliefs to try to weaken, rather than strengthen the Constitution's attention to civil rights. The main strength of our government is the division of power, with our Supreme Court as our bulwark against any form of persecution.
Even when we consider a Supreme Court decision wrong, we respect its judges' right to have the last word. Even when they disappoint us we know that they have tried to rise above both their own prejudices and those of the general public, and that decisions will be based on reason rather than mob rule. This is our essence, our soul, our birthright. It is unbelievable that we would consider letting religious differences with any group of people make us willingly give away that birthright simply to curtail their rights.
One would expect our own legislators to be outraged by such an attempt. Yet many who usually champion civil rights are either suddenly silent or are openly rejecting the values we thought they held. The only gubernatorial candidate who seems to have grasped the danger here and spoken out courageously is Mazie Hirono.
This amendment neither saves traditional marriage nor makes religious sense. Esau at least sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage. But most of us already have our bowl of pottage. A "yes" vote on this amendment simply tries to keep certain others from having one, too.
Jean S. Gochros
Where's the threat?Why do we have to tamper with our Constitution just because some religious groups will not tolerate homosexuals?
Frankly, I do not see how same-sex marriage is such a big threat. You marry the one you love, and they marry the ones they love. Is that so difficult to do?
In God's eyes, we are all equally blessed, for his love and forgiveness is total, universal and unconditional. Anything less is hypocrisy.
Don't repeat the pastI grew up in Maryland in the 1950s. I remember well, as a little girl, hearing and seeing the discrimination, bigotry, prejudice and ignorance of the times toward interracial marriage, desegregation, minority rights and women's rights.
Even as a little girl, I knew that there should never be discrimination and prejudice like this. Never, ever. I knew in my soul it was wrong, even as I heard family members, community and business leaders, and church members speak of people in disdainful, hurtful ways, and even when this discrimination was protected by laws of the state.
I shudder to think what would have happened if these issues had been left to a majority vote and legislation rather than to the intervention of the courts.
No license for devianceDoes licensing of same-sex marriage imply approval of "deviant" behavior? This question is irrelevant, since marriage licenses aren't licenses to have sex. Sex requires no license. Many opposite-sex couples engage in odd sexual practices. No one suggests that a marriage license given to a man and a woman who engage in sexual variations implies approval of those variations.
Gays have earned rightsI have lived in a committed loving relationship with the same man for over 40 year. So don't call it marriage, call it chicken soup or chopped liver for all I care. We have earned and deserve these rights. The important thing is that all citizens stand equal before the law.
By the way, I do not wish to marry my faithful dog, "Spot!" What shibai.
Vote is about marriage and nothing but marriageThe public is being intentionally confused on the same-sex issue by those who support homosexual "marriage" and who are producing, publishing and airing very misleading advertisements to make people think that if you support traditional marriage you are banning abortion, union busting, throwing out our Bill of Rights, denying civil rights and more. It borders on the ridiculous.
The fact is, the vote is about one thing and only one thing -- the definition of marriage.
It is not about Hawaiian rights; it is not about civil rights; it is not about the internment of Japanese; it not about abortion; it is not about race; it is not about the constitutional convention.
It is not about discrimination; it is not about religious beliefs or freedom, or the separation of church and state.
It will not take away collective bargaining rights.
Those are just a few of the false claims made by such groups as Protect our Constituion and the Human Rights Campaign.
I was appalled to receive a flier from the musician's union suggesting that we vote in favor of homosexual "marriage." The flier suggests that if we continue the ban on homosexual marriage, union busting will be next.
The union leadership did not ask the members' opinions on this question, and every musician I have talked with supports traditional marriage and plans to vote "yes" on the amendment.
The same is true of the teachers, whose leadership favors homosexual marriage, while every teacher I have talked with wants to keep the ban on homosexual marriage. Their union leaders may vote "no," but you can bet the musicians and teachers will vote "yes."
Vote "yes" if you want marriage in Hawaii to remain a union between one man and one woman. Your "yes" vote will continue the state ban on homosexual marriage.
We don't want to be the only place in the world where traditional marriage is put aside in favor of homosexual marriage or any other abberation.
There's really no debateWhoever thought the day would come when anyone had to define marriage? This should be a no-brainer, not a controversy. This whole issue has become so clouded, as well as costly, that it's ridiculous! Vote "yes" to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. Other types of relationships will just have to find a name of their own, just as they've done for centuries past.
Marriage is marriage, a rose is a rose.
Evan M. Stubbart
Amendment is people's toolProtect Our Constitution? My question is, "From what?" Polls have overwhelmingly shown that the majority of the people of Hawaii are not in favor of same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment is narrowly drafted to correct something the drafters of the state constitution did not envision, which is what the amendment process is all about.
Without arguing the merits of same-sex marriage, I am suspect of any organization that would try to confuse the issue to win its point. It sounds like something lawyers do when they have a weak case that cannot be won on its own merits.
Protect our childrenI am a emeritus professor of psychiatry at the John F. Burns School of Medicine, a practicing psychiatrist and have been a teacher for over 40 years. I was the state's expert witness when it won the right to introduce the teaching of sex education in our public schools over 30 years ago.
I shall vote "yes" against the legalization of same-sex marriage. I firmly believe that this change will not be good for Hawaii or our children, from my professional and personal experience.
Walter F. Char, M.D.
Some clergy are misguidedShame on the churches that have criticized Save Traditional Marriage's efforts, and kudos to the churches that have had the courage to endorse their campaign. If we can't count on the clergy to lead us out of this mess, who can we count on?
Why aren't gay-marriage proponents concerned about the effect that such marriage would have on children? Kids will grow up thinking it is acceptable to marry either sex. Is that really what we want?
On other subjects...
Kenny Goodenow is a pawn of SoukiThe residents of the 51st District (Waimanalo-Kailua) are being bamboozled! Kenny Goodenow has shown that he is being used as a pawn of House Speaker Joe Souki and other old-boy leaders.
A look at the House Journal for the 1998 session reveals Goodenow defended the bills of the speaker and the administration whenever they were challenged on the floor. He voted to raise excise taxes and against the bill (that later passed) to reduced Bishop Estate and other charitable trustees' fees to a "reasonable" standard.
Goodenow hardly ever shows up at community meetings; when he does (like at the latest Waimanalo Neighborhood Board meeting), he says that he "has nothing to report."
In contrast, Eve Anderson regularly attends community and neighborhood board meetings, and informational seminars, even though she has not been in office since 1996. Sharing the information that she picks up from these meetings has made her a valuable commodity.
HPU won't be moving to the windward sideThank you very much for your excellent Oct. 14 editorial on the growth of Hawaii Pacific University. While we appreciate the coverage, we wish to correct a misunderstanding that HPU plans to relocate facilities from downtown to Kaneohe.
While we do plan to expand facilities on the windward campus, HPU is strongly committed to downtown Honolulu. We anticipate growth on all 10 of our campuses: downtown, in Kaneohe and on eight military bases.
We wish to reassure our friends in the Honolulu business community that we plan to continue to play a vital role downtown as well as on our other campuses.
Chatt G. Wright
Hawaii Pacific University
Vote 'no' on tax review commission amendmentThe upcoming general election ballot includes a little-publicized question asking: "Shall a tax review commission be appointed every ten years, instead of every five years, starting in the year 2005?"
While seemingly manini, this amendment would weaken a very important constitutional check and balance on government tax policies and should be rejected.
Our state constitution provides for a tax review commission to be appointed every five years. Each commission is to "conduct a systematic review of the state's tax structure, using such standards as equity and efficiency," and "submit to the legislature an evaluation...recommend revenue and tax policy and then dissolve."
Past commission membership has encompassed tax, accounting, economic, business and other expertise. In my legislative experience, the commission's evaluations and recommendations have represented the broadest and clearest thinking on state tax policy presented to the legislature.
The stated reason for the proposed amendment is to "give the legislature sufficient time to consider [the commission's] recommendations."
However, since five years is more than enough time to review and implement even the most difficult recommendation, I came to believe that a primary purpose of the proposed amendment was to avoid addressing the commission's often-persuasive assessment of revenue and tax policy, and voted against the proposal.
Our legislature and state need the quality review of these core government functions provided by the commission at least every five years. I urge a "no" vote on this proposed amendment.
Rep. Ed Case
Democrat, 23rd District
(Via the Internet)
Hawaii's economy is making a comebackIn response to the Star-Bulletin's Oct. 17 editorial, "Gov. Cayetano's case for four more years," Bank of Hawaii economist Paul Brewbaker did not describe my recently unveiled plan for the next four years nor my claim that Hawaii is moving toward economic recovery as "fiction."
In fact, Brewbaker stated, "My view on the economy is that Hawaii has been moving toward recovery but has been set back repeatedly by external shocks. Global financial market turbulence is one of the latest of those shocks."
I agree with him. In all of my public statements, I have said basically the same thing.
However, amidst all the bad news about the global economy, there are some good things happening in Hawaii's economy. Real estate sales are up for the first time in eight years. New business starts are up 13 percent over last year.
Since 1995, 134 new insurance companies, nine new telecommunication and six new high-tech companies have come to Hawaii.
Film and movie production has tripled. A flock of retail businesses have opened new stores. Overall, construction is up for the first time since 1991. And for the past seven months, state tax revenues grew nearly seven times greater than what was projected.
Has Hawaii's economy recovered? No, we are not there yet. But we are moving in the right direction.
Benjamin J. Cayetano
State of Hawaii
More thorough discussion of the issues is neededDuring this election campaign, Hawaii Democrats have been asked to recommit themselves to the fundamental values of equality, equal opportunity and equal rights.
In the ebullience of her post-primary celebration, Hawaii Republican National Committeewoman Miriam Hellreich dismissed the discussion of these values, proclaiming, "If the Democrats are going to play the value card, they're going to have to separate themselves from the national party and from President Clinton."
The notion that the sincerity of people who have demonstrated their commitment to improving the lives of Hawaii's people is somehow diminished or discredited by the individual moral transgressions of the president is ridiculous.
Even more disturbing is the implication that discussion of issues relating to our fundamental rights is somehow unimportant or illegitimate.
In this election, both Democrats and Republicans should address these issues. We deserve more substantive discussion and less vague rhetoric about change.
Write aWant to write a letter to the editor? Let all Star-Bulletin readers know what you think. Please keep your letter to about 200 words. You can send it by e-mail to email@example.com or you can fill in the online form for a faster response. Or print it and mail it to: Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or fax it to: 523-8509. Always be sure to include your daytime phone number.
Letter to the Editor