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Hawaiian Bishop: Banning Marriage Equality Is 'Just Discrimination'

By Sunnivie Brydum

The Roman Catholic bishop of Honolulu is rallying the faithful troops to oppose legislation that would make Hawaii the 15th U.S. jurisdiction (including D.C.) to embrace marriage equality, reports ThinkProgress.

Responding to Hawaiian governor Neil Abercrombie's statements last week that he was "very likely" to call a special session of the legislature to consider a marriage equality bill this fall, Bishop Larry Silva published an open letter on Thursday asking Hawaiian Catholics to speak out against the legislation in support of "just discrimination" against same-sex couples. 

In the open letter, published on official Diocese of Honolulu letterhead, Silva goes to great lengths to distinguish between what he calls unacceptable "unjust discrimination" and "just discrimination," or, "that is, making distinctions."  Silva contends that discrimination based on age — between parents and children, professors and students — is just, noting that both parties are "equal in dignity as persons," but are not equal in their roles. 

But if same-sex marriage becomes legal in Hawaii, Silva argues, parents will be considered homophobic for raising their children to be straight. Silva also employs the oft-cited but fallacious argument that marriage equality will lead to legalized polygamy and incest, although both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages the world over involve only two consenting adults. 

Silva trots out other tired anti-equality tropes, including fears that legal marriage equality will mean students will be taught in schools that same-sex relationships are equally valid as opposite-sex relationships, and that Christians and others "who firmly believe that God made us male and female" will be considered bigots, and will persecuted, and forcibly "'re-educated' to think as 'normal' people think."

Silva closes by asserting that marriage equality is not about civil rights, but rather about depriving children of the environment provided by heterosexual, two-parent households. Any rhetoric that focuses on the private relationship of a given couple is tantamount to the devil's trickery when the biblical character posed as a serpent and convinced Adam and Eve to eat fruit from the forbidden tree, Silva writes.

Lastly, Silva encourages all Hawaiian Catholics to contact their legislators and voice their disapproval of the not-yet-introduced legislation. The bishop included a list of each representative, their district, and their phone number, and urged readers to encourage Catholic friends and family to contact their legislators as well. 

Silva concludes his letter with a reminder that "After all, God is love!"

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