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On July 6, 2010, Hawaii's Governor, Linda Lingle, announced she had vetoed the Civil Unions Bill (HB444). Governor Lingle explained  she was partly motivated to veto the bill because of what she described as the majority Democratic Party misleading the public on the status of the bill while resorting to political tactics:  "The legislative maneuvering that brought HB444 to an 11th hour vote, on the final day of the session, via a suspension of the rules, after legislators led the public to believe that the bill was dead, was wrong and unfair to the public they represent".  

Governor Lingle also expressed concerns that the public was left out of the process, and proclaimed that the public should be afforded an opportunity to participate in the process. "It deserves to be decided directly by all the people of Hawaii", and "After listening to those both for and against HB444 I have gained a new appreciation for just how deeply people of all ages and backgrounds feel on this matter, and how significantly they believe the issue will affect their lives".  
(listen to two rallyers express their views).    She then proposed that a Constitutional amendment be enacted to assure public participation.

We find the Governor's statements regarding the bill's status, and government openess/fairness to the citizens of this state, to be disingenuous.  In fact, Lingle herself resorted to underhanded tactics.  Prior to making her declaration, Lingle set into motion a series of actions that did the opposite of what she was preaching.

First, Lingle required the group "Equality Hawaii" to obtain a Special Use Permit to hold a rally at the Capitol building and surrounding area on June 6, the day she was to make her announcement.   The group was also required to provide proof of liability insurance for the event. The permit language specified that the area to be used by the Permittee, "Equality Hawaii", was the Capitol Rotunda and  areas around the Damien and Queen Liliuokalani statues, and the public sidewalk for sign waving. The permit also allowed one to four hundred (1 - 400) people to participate in the rally.
(see permit).

Equality Hawaii complied with the permit requirements but was prevented from enjoying the full conditions of their permit because Lingle, through the Sheriff's Office, allowed Francis Oda (of Hawaii Family Forum, Hawaii Transformation Network, and Hawaiian Island Ministries), Dennis Arakaki, other church pastors, and hundreds of church members and associates to congregate in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, near the Queen's statue,  without obtaining a Special Use Permit. The Governor, via the Sheriff's Office, allowed a gathering of  200 or more non-permitted protesters to rally on various levels of the Capitol building.  Eventually the majority of them found their way to the Capitol's 5th Floor and proceeded to march around, singing religious hymns and praying aloud. This behavior was accompanied by loud clapping, dancing, and the blowing of at least two ram's horns for several hours.  However, the permitted rallyers were not allowed upstairs.  They were turned away by the sheriffs, even while the sheriffs permitted and escorted hundreds of  the non-permitted anti-gay rallyers, led by Francis Oda, upstairs to the 5th floor governor's office where they sang, prayed and chanted.


The non-permitted rally - participants waiting and praying outside Governor's Office

Link here to a video of non-permitted rally participants singing in the Capitol

At approximately 1:00 p.m., I overheard Francis Oda telling a number of people, including pastors  Elwin Ahu and Kahu Kekuna, that the Governor would be meeting with a few chosen pastors (including himself) in her office at about 2:45 p.m. for a special prayer meeting.  Then, at 3:00 p.m.,  she would invite chosen media to come in when she announced her decision on HB444.  Oda suggested the pastors tell their people to go get something to eat and return before 3:00 p.m. to hear the Governor's announcement.  He also told the pastors to remind their members to refrain from celebrating aloud when the Governor announced her decision. Some of the pastors proceeded to instruct their followers to leave, then return to the 5th Floor as recommended by Oda.  
(Audio of Oda's Instructions)

Francis Oda


Dennis Arakaki

Pastors wait  to meet privately and pray with the Governor prior to the announcement

During the time Oda was making his announcement I also observed pastor Cal Chinen standing around the entrance to the Governor's office. At approximately 2:45 p.m., I observed Oda and at least two other pastors approach the entrance to the Governor's office where they were met by the Governor's security staff. The security staff asked their names, checked with someone inside the office and returned to the entrance to tell them their names were on the list. They were then invited inside. Cal Chinen of Hawaii Transformation Network, and other pastors, were not allowed in.

Cal Chinen waits to enter Governor's Office, but was turned away


Sheriffs on watch

Cal Chinen embraces non-permitted rally participant after announcement          


I noted that a number of individuals were refused entry and told that their names were not on the special invitee's list. I also asked permission to enter the Governor's office and was told that my name was not on the special invitee's list.   I was refused entry.

At approximately 3:00 p.m., I observed some members of the press and other "special invitees" enter the Governor's office. A short time later, one of the pastors received a telephone call and yelled "She vetoed it." The non-permitted rallyers broke out in screams, shouts, dancing and praying. This went on for about 15 minutes.

Link here to a video of the celebration


Both sides react after Governor Lingle announced the veto


A gleeful Kimberly Pine

LINK TO MORE PICTURES of the rally participants and their reaction to the message

LISTEN TO AN INTERVIEW WITH FRANCIS ODA  about the rally and the fact that they did not have a permit.

So, we ask you, why is it that the people who came to the Capitol building in support of the gay community and HB444 were required to obtain a Special Use Permit and proof of liability insurance in order to participate in a rally, but the pastors, church members, and those rallying against the civil rights legislation were not similarly required to obtain the necessary permits?  And, why is it that certain people were invited to a special prayer meeting inside the Governor’s office, but others were excluded?  This is why we find the Governor’s statements regarding her veto to be completely disingenuous.  How can Lingle say that the public should be afforded an opportunity “to participate in the process”, when she denied certain people the same opportunities, including attending a prayer meeting at her office prior to her announcement regarding the veto of HB444, and being included on a special invitee’s list?


The rally at the capitol - waiting for the announcement



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