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February 14, 2013 Print

Hawaii Family Forum Presents Round-Up of Current Legislation

by Guest Author

The Hawaii Family Forum is dedicated to promoting life, family— built on the foundation of one man and one woman in a committed married relationship — and religious freedom. On Monday, the Forum released a comprehensive list of the issues that have come up during this legislative session, which opened on Jan. 16.

Same-Sex Marriage

As many of you are already very aware, the issue of same-sex marriage has taken the forefront in many news stories recently.  Leaders, including Gov. Abercrombie and Mayor Caldwell, have come out strongly in support of legalizing same-sex marriage in Hawaii. We have been receiving so many phone calls from people who believe that this issue was settled in 1998 and they can’t believe that the Legislature is trying to pass it.

Legalized Gambling

There is a move that began Monday in the state Senate to push through bills that would legalize gambling in Hawaii.  These problematic bills include a stand-alone casino (SB 769), shipboard gambling (SB 767), Internet gambling (SB 768), and a proposed study for a state lottery (SB 766).  

Emergency Contraceptives

This issue has raised its head every year for the past several years.  The issue in the past was the effort to force St. Francis Hospital to provide emergency contraceptives in its emergency rooms. The Catholic Church believes that the emergency contraceptives can act as an abortifacient . The FDA-required warnings on the medication say the same thing. The bill failed in the past because opponents were able to successfully argue that the government should not be allowed to force a religious institution to act contrary to its religious tenets.  

Although St. Francis no longer owns the land under the hospital, they sold the property to Queens with the understanding that they would not act contrary to Catholic Religious and Ethical Directives.  However, proponents strongly disagree.  

There is a strong effort to pass this bill.  If it is passed without a religious exemption or conscience protection, any religious individual who works in any emergency room will not be able to opt out.  

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House Health Committee and is now moving to the House Judiciary Committee.  

Bill information: HB 411: Relating to Hospital emergency compassionate care for sexual assault victims; and SB 1109: Relating to hospital standards for sexual assault victims.

Birth Certificate Bill

In Hawaii, if someone who has sex change surgery wants to get a new birth certificate issued with their new gender, they are allowed to do so; however, the certificate is marked as “amended.”

The language in this bill, HB 412, changes the legal requirement of having a sex change operation and says that instead of the operation, a person who takes hormone therapy or any therapy their doctor deems appropriate for them, can change their birth certificate and it will not show as amended.

We want to make it clear that we do not oppose someone changing their birth certificate. What we are opposing is the fact that it puts pastors in a difficult position of having a vital record presented to them that is neither accurate nor historically factual.   This bill passed the House Health Committee and is now headed to the House Judiciary Committee.

Legalized Recreational Marijuana Use

There is a move in the Legislature to legalize marijuana for personal use.  The description of this bill, HB 699, “Authorizes persons 21 years of age or older to consume or possess limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. Provides for the licensing of marijuana cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, safety testing facilities, and retail stores.  Applies an excise tax on transactions between marijuana establishments.”

We strongly oppose this bill and will be sending out an alert once we receive word of a hearing.

Written by the Hawaii Family Forum.

Learn more about the Hawaii Family Forum.

Learn more about legislation in the state.