Hawaiian faith leaders team up in favor of marriage equality

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Over a dozen faith leaders have petitioned for a resolution pleading with Hawaiian lawmakers to legalize marriage equality.

“It’s all about standing on the right side of history… We will keep doing it until we’re all prayed out,” said the Unitarian Church of Honolulu’s Reverend Dt. Jonipher Kupono Kwong in a press release.

According to the Associated Press, leaders from local Jewish, Methodist and Unitarian congregations got together over brunch at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu.

“There is no reason to wait for justice and equality,” said Representative Chris Lee, who has been pushing for marriage equality in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian House Democrats will be meeting this week to decide on the marriage equality bill. Senator Maxie Hirono commented, “LGBT [people]should not have to wait to be able to marry.”

Currently, Hawaii only allows civil unions, with no federal benefits.

“People recognize that there are civil benefits that are connected to marriage that we’re excluding people from,” Representative Della Belatti said.

The majority of Hawaiian citizens favor marriage equality, and the University of Hawaii reported that marriage equality would boost Hawaii’s economy by bringing in $217 million.

“The benefits from pent-up demand for same-sex marriages are time dependent,” University of Hawaii economics professor Sumner La Croix said in the report. “If Hawaii waits to adopt samesex marriage, it will not realize these gains. They will be lost forever, diverted to other states that recognize marriage equality.”

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