Okino’s ‘Illicit’ Remark An Insult

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - February 18, 2009
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Gary Okino: Same-sex couples are an ‘illicit minority’

I found it hard to believe, but there it was in quotation marks in the newspaper. City Councilman Gary Okino referring to same-sex couples as an “illicit minority.”

Yep, illicit. As in unlawful, illegitimate, criminal, felonious; outlawed, banned, forbidden, prohibited, proscribed, unauthorized, unsanctioned.

And I’m wondering: Is that the mind of his constituency in Fort Shafter, Moanalua, Halawa, Aiea, Pearl City, Pearl City Peninsula, Seaview, Crestview and Waipio Gentry?

There’s an emotional attack under way on the proposal for Hawaii to join progressive communities that permit same-sex couples de facto partner status. It would give them legal rights similar to married people’s. But it’s not marriage, which Hawaii law defines as one man and one woman.

This is an issue where organized religion should butt out. As in abortion, it’s rightly an individual decision. It’s not society’s business because the uninvolved are not damaged by it. It’s OK for individuals to disapprove of it, but not to prevent it.

Claiming, as Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona does, that this is a same-sex marriage bill under another name is ridiculous. And given Hawaii’s generally progressive social outlook, I have to wonder if Aiona isn’t sinking his candidacy long before the 2010 gubernatorial election.


Claiming, as Gary Okino does, that we’re dealing with an “illicit minority” is an insult to diverse human beings and a mark of incomplete education.

I must mention that not all gay couples love the civil union idea. Some argue that civil unions cannot replace the right to marry, and constitute a segregation of gay couples. Heterosexual couples can access two legal avenues to register their commitment: marriage, which requires a ceremony and a signed legal document, or de facto partnership, which requires no contract but generally allows some legal resolution at dissolution if there are any property disputes.

But at least a civil union is a legally recognized union - well, not portable, i.e. not recognized in all states - and a recent U.S. law bans federal benefits to same-sex partners. So it sure ain’t marriage. And even the very liberal President Obama does not support same-sex marriage.

I continue to be a supporter of same-sex marriage (only two states have that) because I don’t care who gets married and because I believe government should get out of the marriage business other than to record unions for legal purposes. Churches can marry or refuse to marry whomever they please.

But I recognize I’m in the minority, although as far as I know Councilman Okino has yet to refer to me as “illicit.”


three star

The Navy failing to notify state health people about dumping 5,000 gallons of raw wastewater from the grounded missile cruiser Port Royal is more than a health issue. It’s a trust issue.

It will cloud many military matters under public scrutiny. Can we trust the Army’s version of what it’s doing to restore Makua? Maybe not. Can we trust that the Navy is really watching for marine mammals within sonar range? Maybe not. Will the military be good stewards of Pohakuloa on the Big Island? Maybe not.


three star

It’s one of the oddest things I’ve heard big business do. The National Football League not only takes popular Hawaii away as next year’s Pro Bowl site, but it sets the date a week before the Super Bowl!

That means no Super Bowl star will play in the Pro Bowl and risk injury. And who wants to go to Miami instead of Honolulu?

What’s up? Somebody please tell me!


three star

I managed to get both a typo and a flat-out error into one sentence in my column on Eric Shinseki in last week’s MidWeek.

I wrote: “It’s unusual for an Army Secretary to serve only one term.”

I accidentally left out the word “not” before “unusual.” And I should have said “Army Chief of Staff.”

So, it’s not unusual for an Army Chief of Staff to serve only one term. Most of them do, including our other Hawaii connection, retired general and former Chief of Staff Fred Weyand.


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