Hawaii Representative Chris Lee (D.) does not parse words when it comes to his support for same-sex marriage. The 32-year-old is expected to vote in favor of SB-1, the Senate-approved bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii, and his Facebook page is dotted with pro-LGBT sentiments.
The time is now, he says, for "ending hurtful discrimination and treating everyone with the same respect and aloha that we all deserve."
For those views, Lee reportedly received a death threat earlier this month.
The note had reportedly been placed under a slipper outside the door of his Kailua home, but Lee doesn't seem fazed.
“Clearly, when things like this happen," he told Hawaii News Now, "it generally means you’re doing something right. Over the history of difficult issues there’s always going to be people on the fringes who are upset that they’re not getting their way or that people are speaking out against their position, and such is life."
And there are plenty of upset people in Hawaii right now as the House prepares to vote on SB-1. More than 5,000 voters have signed up to testify in person before the House Finance and Judiciary committees (Lee sits on the Judiciary), thus delaying the vote that is expected to be in favor of same-sex marriage.
"I think we heard a lot of frustration and even some angry testimony yesterday,” Lee told Civil Beat of Thursday's proceedings. ”So this is a clearly a controversial issue that is going to make everyone tense.”
Hopefully the majority of House representatives remain as undaunted and goal oriented as Lee. "Anything worth fighting for," he says, "carries some inherent risk and there’s certainly no reason to keep quiet because of it.”