Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First Hierarch meets with Hawai’i's Governor

A statement concerning support for the passage of HB 444 was given on May 25, 2010, to State of Hawai'i Governor Linda Lingle in the State Capital Executive Chambers by Most Rev. Daniel J. Dahl, DD, Archbishop and First Hierarch of the Inclusive Orthodox Church, and in association with the Interfaith Alliance Hawaii Board of Directors, of which he is Assistant Secretary, as follows:

The Inclusive Orthodox Church is proud to support HB444 on compassionate grounds to assist all the people of the State of Hawaii in the strengthening of their ‘ohana ties and the practice of aloha in our great State.

We see no threat to traditional marriage but rather the opportunity to offer ‘ohana rights to many people now deprived of them in many different kinds of union. We are pleased that HB444 discriminates against no one and is blind to gender and sexuality. We hope that it may lower the divorce rate in the State of Hawaii and serve as a step to more stable unions for all ‘ohana.

Our Church firmly upholds the separation of church and state guaranteed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. No one’s civil rights should be limited by another’s religious beliefs or prejudices. We see HB444 as an important step in Hawaii’s pursuit of equal rights and the pursuit of happiness for everyone equally, whatever the composition of ‘ohana, and we support your endorsement of it, Governor Lingle. Let Hawaii be known as the State of Aloha.

It is noteworthy that HB 444 is the first "Civil Union" legislation in the USA proposed which does not specify sexual orientation or the gender of "Partners," and specifically defines itself as "not being a substitute for traditional marriage." By including heterosexual couples in HB 444, the Archbishop elaborated that, "civil unions" may lower the divorce rate among traditional married couples, which was at 41% in the USA during 2009. A preponderance of first divorces take place among traditional married couples ages 20 to 25 years of age.

['ohana is a Hawaiian word for "family" and is used in Hawai'i even today with local English dialect.]