There were many stirring words spoken, and many brave and beautiful people who put their careers and even their lives on the line, to finally bring marriage equality to Hawaiʻi. This short video portrays the most critical public battle: the demonstrations during the final reading by the House of Representatives on Friday, Nov. 8.
Although the struggle for same-sex marriage in Hawaiʻi is in many ways similar to whatʻs taken place across the country, there are some unique aspects as well. For mainland viewers, these three vocabulary words might be useful to understand the context of the video:
Māhū: People who embody both the male and female characteristics present in each one of us (aka third gender, two-spirit, or transgender). The woman giving the speech, Kumu Hina, and several other demonstrators are māhū wahine, or transgender women -- a status that is historically respected in Hawai'i.
Kumu: Teacher; base, foundation; main stalk of a tree. Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is affectionately know as Kumu Hina because she is both a schoolteacher and a recipient and source of Hawaiian cultural wisdom.
Aloha: Love; affection; compassion; kindness; grace. This is the most widely known yet difficult-to-define word in the Hawaiian language, but at a minimum it involves respect and acceptance of all.
With aloha, marriage equality will mean more than just the right for same-sex couples to form a legal contract and share benefits. It will bring pono (goodness; righteousness; fairness) to all the diverse 'ohana (families) of Hawaiʻi nei.
Special thanks to all the organizers and contributors to the demonstrations, and to The Green for their song "Power in the Words" from Hawaiʻi ʻ13.