Hate aimed at Aloha State

A nationally active anti-gay group is planning to bring its message of hate to Honolulu. The picketing ministry of Westboro Baptist Church, established in 1955 by Pastor Fred Phelps, is coming to Hawaii next month in its mission to oppose the “homosexual lifestyle.” The group’s Dec. 12 news release declares, “God hates Hawaii!”

“While it is Phelps’ right of free speech to preach such vile hatred, the people of Hawaii have a responsibility to condemn this depraved dogma,” said Mitch Kahle, local activist and President of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church. “Whether religious or secular, gay or straight, all good people of ethical fiber should speak out against this violence against our gay and lesbian family and friends.”

According to the group’s online picket schedule, anti-gay demonstrations will be staged in Honolulu from Jan. 9 through 12. Targeted locations include the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the state Board of Education office on Miller Street, the State Supreme Court on South King Street, and several churches: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Kawaiahao Church, and Star of the Sea Catholic Church.

St. Andrew’s and Star of the Sea also house private schools.

The WBC claims to have conducted over 22,000 similar demonstrations during the last twelve years at gay pride parades and other events around the country. The group made headlines with its protest at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student from Wyoming who was murdered in October 1998, and whose death prompted a national debate over hate-crime legislation.

In announcing its Hawaii protests, the WBC specifically references Baehr v. Lewin, the 1996 Hawaii Supreme Court case that said the state had to show compelling reason for denying same-sex couples equal access to legal marriage and its many benefits, an action that would otherwise violate the state’s equal rights laws. The case made headlines nationwide, although the decision was mooted by a 1998 Constitutional Amendment aimed against homosexual unions.

In an interview with the Star-Bulletin, Phelps said his group is also coming to Hawaii because of a controversial sex education pamphlet that had been distributed at Kohala Middle School on the Big Island earlier this year. Entitled “Discovering Your Sexuality,” the brochure mentions same-sex and bisexual love alongside heterosexual love and lists the website of Planned Parenthood. It’s part of the popular Weekly Reader series of teaching guides.

State Board of Education member Carol Gabbard — wife of same-sex marriage opponent Mike Gabbard — objected to the brochure at the board’s November meeting. But she has also denounced the WBC as “fanatics” and “hatemongers,” saying the people of Hawaii had already spoken loud and clear against same-sex unions in 1998.

3 thoughts on “Hate aimed at Aloha State

  1. In June, 2001, Phelps and his gang were scheduled and expected to protest the Ferndale HS graduation of a gay teenager. After much rallying, fanfare, and saber rattling by local activists, Phelps and the WBC crew was a no show.

    Although victory was celebrated by the assembled forces, it was obvious that he had played them like a cheap fiddle. Phelps’ excuse was there was something more important to protest in Montreal, or some other place.

    Be aware that this is one of his ploys: to stir up the pot then not partake from it. Due to the expense of shipping and housing a crew to Hawai’i, I would question the sincerity of the threat.

    WBC sends advance recon teams in to check for places to stand and applicable local laws. Look for them.

  2. Burn the gays!!! I dont care how far mankind thinks it has come, there is no justification for the gay life style. It is backwards.

  3. Uh, Dan… I think hollering “burn the gays” and then calling them “backwards” is more than just a little ironic.

    I think part of the problem most men have with gay men is that they are afraid that a gay man sees him “like a woman”. Given what a lot of men think about women its not hard to imagine why they may not like that attitude comming from another man.

    I think thats part of the reason why its not such an issue in Hawaii as it is in other states. Respect in Hawaii is part of the culture, not just an idea or something you hear about in school but a silent teaching transmitted by those around you. Its already woven into the fabric of daily life for so many.

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