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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

Marriage Equality Was Well Earned

This fight for marriage equality was interesting to observe. It kind of reminded me of the old athletic truism that there is nothing as dramatic as a picture of “the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.” No matter what your preference, you have to admire the determination of those fighting for a new law labeled The Marriage Equality Act.

The one thing it really shows is how to get a highly controversial proposition passed in Hawaii. It’s hard to imagine this political fight has been going on since the ’90s.

One thing is for sure, changing the name of the fight to “marriage equality” was genius. In the final analysis, what happened was the opposition got fatigued over the prolonged battle. One side got stronger as the legislative session wore on, while the opposition got weaker. Of course, it was pretty obvious the opposition did not have a good game plan, and in the end it showed.

The Democrats in charge had a thoughtful game plan when they separated the two sides in the conflict from the beginning. Assigning numbers to those asked to speak also was a very good move. It gave the appearance that there were many more supporters for the bill than against and they were louder and happier.

It was apparent from the beginning the bill would become law because the governor said he would sign it immediately when it reached his desk. A big motivation for the winners.

I impressed that the winners had reserved the entire Convention Center for the announcement and signing of the bill by the governor. They could have staged the conclusion of the drama at Aloha Stadium, but they wisely chose the Hawaii Convention Center. I wonder how long it will take for another legislative act to be signed in the Hawaii Convention Center? When we have a heated election in the immediate future, that’s when.

No, you have to give the marriage equality side a big round of applause – they out-thought their opponents and it showed from the beginning.

And while the opposition is hoping that a roll-call vote will help them get some of the politicians out of office, don’t count on that. Other groups will likely adopt the strategy used by the marriage equality gang. Wear the opposition down going into the fourth quarter, gather allies who can parade people with signs and banners around their headquarters, respectfully. Count how many times you heard a legislative leader publicly call for the opposition to be orderly and respectfully? The answer is quite a few times, and on statewide television.

In the future you can almost bet that the gambling, abortion and other emotional legislative issues will follow the leader. This was a masterful execution of planning by the marriage equality team. Give them credit for a well-earned victory. I wouldn’t gloat, though, because you have just taught the losers a very important lesson, and they are sure to use what they have learned in the future.

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