Monday, February 16, 2009

Civil Decision

The House's decision to pass HB444, Civil Unions, on Thursday of last week, was a significant procedural hurdle to what might be one of the more interesting pieces of legislation this Session. Only two members who signed onto the bill originally were not part of the majority who voted for the bill; Rep. Mark Takai was absent due to his service in the military, and Rep. Yamane (who didn't have quite as good of an excuse). :)

Majority Leader Blake Oshiro gave one of the most substantive speeches ever given on the floor of the House. Following his speech I noticed several members of the public, who had attended that day's Session in opposition to the civil unions bill, were clapping. It goes without saying that some who may have come to the chamber opposed to civil unions, left feeling differently.

Three things that stood out following the House's passage of HB444:

1.) Rep. Ward spoke for civil rights for gays and lesbians but against civil unions because they were 'one step away from granting same-sex marriage.' Come on, you're a smart guy, did you write that slightly contradictory rant yourself?

2.) Freshman Reps. Agaran and Lee get it - they're smart, fresh voices in the House.

3.) Leadership can sometimes means taking a position that isn't necessarily 'popular' in your community and using that position to shed light on an issue that most people haven't spent time critically thinking (and by extension - speaking) about. This was one of those issues folks.