Hawaii eye candy

Nate keeps telling me that Hawaii sucks, but I get the feeling that he either 1) would say that about any place expensive or 2) is thinking of his mother. At any rate, I intend on visiting soon. Here’s some eye candy:

Hawaii

Hawaii eye candy

I have designs on at least visiting Hawaii in the near future. The purpose of my visit will be, in part, to see how much I might enjoy living there. The rest of my purpose will be, well, look:

Kalalau Lookout, Kauai, Hawaii

via Flickr

Fun fact of the day

Take a quick look around a world map and you may just figure out the location of a magma hot spot. The island chain of Hawaii, for example, was born via this way. Hawaiian Islands As the Pacific plate moves, hot magma beneath the Earth’s crust pushes through, forming new land over millions of years. This process has given us the 4 main Hawaiian land masses in addition to well over a hundred tiny islands. Other areas of the world where we see this include the Galapagos islands and the peaks of Kilimanjaro.

The moral advancement of Hawaii

Hawaii is about to increase the happiness of many of its citizens. And with no ill consequences.

Hawaii lawmakers gave final approval to civil unions Wednesday and sent the legislation to Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who plans to sign it into law.

Civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012, making the state the seventh to grant virtually the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.

Now we just need these states to adhere to the Supreme Court ruling that said separate can never be equal. (Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if same-sex marriage was federally recognized and sanctioned in every state. At least we would all be on board with the constitution at that point.)

Hawaii ends state prayer

The Hawaii state Senate has decided to do away with the prayer it used to open each session.

A citizen’s complaint had prompted the American Civil Liberties Union last summer to send the Senate a letter noting that its invocations often referenced Jesus Christ, contravening the separation of church and state.

That prompted the state attorney general’s office to advise the Senate that their handling of prayers – by inviting speakers from various religions to preach before every session – wouldn’t survive a likely court challenge, said Democratic Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.

“Above all, our responsibility is to adhere to the Constitution,” Galuteria said after Thursday’s vote to halt the daily blessings.

This is a pretty straight forward decision, one that reflects the fact that Christians don’t get to do whatever they want. But that doesn’t mean everyone has to understand it.

“They (the ACLU) continue to threaten governments with lawsuits to try to force them into capitulating to their view of society,” said Brett Harvey, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, made up of Christian lawyers to defend free faith speech. “Governments should take a stand for this cherished historical practice.”

Thank you for confirming that the prayers were all about Christians, but really? It’s an organization dedicated to defending free faith speech? Do they realize that there is no such thing? That if such a thing were to exist, that it would be a privilege, not a right? There is simply the right to free speech.

Besides, it isn’t free speech if it’s being endorsed by the government.

You Christians don’t get to do whatever you want

Is it really that hard to understand? Is it really that hard to understand that one group does not get to impose its religious beliefs on everyone else? Church and state are separate; freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. I suspect if anti-theist atheists or Muslims or Scientologists started reciting their beliefs through a government entity, you Christians would start to actually understand all this.

The Hawaii state Senate, as Christian-dominated as anywhere in the U.S., is, however, with you in their intentional ignorance.

When Senate President Colleen Hanabusa introduced a reverend to say the invocation, Mitch Kahle stood from his seat in the gallery of the Senate chambers and said, “I object. My name is Mitch Kahle and I object to this prayer on the grounds that it’s a violation of the first amendment of the constitution of the United States. I object.”

Kahle’s protest lasted about seven seconds. Then he stopped talking and sat down. The Senate’s Sergeant at Arms was determined to remove Kahle. When Kahle resisted he was forcefully removed and roughed up. The incident was caught by several video cameras including a camera belonging to Hawaii News Now.

“Then what they did to add insult to injury was, they arrested him for disorderly conduct,” said William Harrison, Kahle’s attorney.

Fortunately, the courts are more and more frequently getting it.

District Court judge Leslie Hayashi needed less than an hour to find Kahle not guilty.

“Number one, there was no disorderly conduct. Number two, he has a first amendment right to speak in a public forum such as he did. And number three, the legislature was violating our U.S. Constitution as well as the Hawaii constitution by having these invocations,” [Kahle’s lawyer] Harrison said.

Fortunately, Kahle and his photographer, Kevin Hughes, are suing.

via Pharyngula

Hawaii to makes the lives of gay couples better

One of the most fundamentally dishonest positions of many marriage bigots is that marriage is all about children and reproduction. ‘Oh, we don’t hate da gays! We just want to create the best environment for children!’ I’m sure they are concerned with children, but that isn’t why they’re against gay marriage. We see this every time civil unions come up and they still oppose the measure. This is about not giving rights to a group of people based on who that group inherently is. That’s bigotry.

Now Hawaii has a chance to make the lives of gay couples better. (When put this way – an honest way – it’s all so clear.) The out-going governor, Linda Lingle, had this opportunity, but she instead decided to consult some wholly unqualified men who dress in silly garb. This undue respect given to the ignorant and silly resulted in less human happiness/more human suffering. It was unjustifiable by any reasonable measure.

But now this wrong has a good chance of being righted.

Hawaii voters opened the way for same-sex civil unions to become state law next year, with an election that gave victory to a pro-gay rights gubernatorial candidate and rejected many church-backed candidates.

The state House and Senate retained the Democratic majorities that approved a civil unions bill this year before it was vetoed, and Democratic Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie has said he will sign a similar law if passed by the Legislature.

The move would make Hawaii, long a battleground in the gay rights movement, the sixth state to grant essentially the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.

This doesn’t qualify as equality, but it is currently the best Hawaii can do. I hope 2011 will be the year gay Hawaiians are treated a little more like human beings.