IMR: 1998: October: 11 -- Sunday, 10:31 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

The airwaves have really been buzzing lately with debate over constitutional amendments and — more directly — same-sex marriage.

And with the general election only three weeks away, it's only going to get noisier.

The advertising has been so aggressive, in fact, the fight has even been making the evening news, usually with one side claiming the other is misleading the public. I think both sides have put out their share of melodrama, but since I'm definitely biased, I think the "Yes" camp is looking the most foolish with its scare tactics.

The "Yes" camp, I should clarify, is "Save Traditional Marriage," folks who don't want same-sex unions legalized, and thus do want a constitutional amendment (drafted via a constitutional convention) to restrict marriage to one man and one woman.

The "No" camp, meanwhile, is "Protect Our Constitution." They don't neccessarily want same-sex marriage (at least that's what they say), but they definitely don't want the Legislature futzing with the state constitution. They want the matter left in the hands of the courts, which only might (but probably will) decide that Hawaii's present constitution does allow homosexual marriage.

(Hawai`i is one of a handful of states that adds "sexual orientation" to the sacred list of protected classes, along with "sex," "age," "race," "religion," and the like.)

I'd have to concede that, unfortunately, the majority of people in Hawai`i oppose same-sex marriages. But even with that great asset, it seems to me the "Save Traditional Marriage" folks are fighting an uphill battle, and doing a crummy job of it too.

The ad I just saw tonight is typical. A little kid is reading a children's book about a wedding. Everything's lovely until the last page, where — surprise! — two men are kissing at the altar. The kid, confused, looks into the camera with big, Bambi eyes. The voice-over says, "If you think same-sex marriage won't affect your children, think again."

Please. The latest "Chucky" sequel is scarier.

To be fair, the "Save Traditional Marriage" folks can't help but look a little silly. They don't exactly have the same variety of points on which to build a case. Consider the ammunition:


  • We're not just talking same-sex marriage, we're talking about changes to the state constitution. Thus, our "side" isn't made up only of gay people, but by anyone who things an amendment is a bad idea. OHA, the League of Women Voters, even several churches.
  • Same-sex marriage, on one level, could be a good thing for everyone, by carving out a huge niche in the tourism market for gays and lesbians worldwide, boosting our lagging economy.
  • The matter is already in the courts, which is where debate over the interpretation of the law belongs. A constitutional amendment would subvert the "balance of power."
  • An amendment against same-sex marriage is essentially restricting rights, excluding a specific minority group. That's not the sort of thing state constitutions should do. (One ad features a man who marched with Martin Luther King saying, "If my rights were put to a popular vote back then, I certainly wouldn't have them now.")
  • If the door is opened to rewrite the current state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, it's possible that the Legislature could use the opportunity to delete the portions that presently force the state to provide substantial compensation to Native Hawaiians for the illegal annexation and continued use of their land.
  • Native Hawaiians aren't the only people who should be worried. If they go after gays now, who's next?
  • As another ad, featuring a local family, puts it, "What is it about our marriage that needs protecting?" Same-sex marriage doesn't, by most accounts, threaten the validity of heterosexual contracts.


  • Same-sex marriage is wrong.
  • No, seriously. Same-sex marriage is really really bad.
  • Same-sex marriage will make you go blind! And your kids too!

Doesn't look like much of a fight. Even if you're against same-sex marriage, there's a good case against using a constitutional amendment to stop it.

Unfortunately, when it comes to a democracy, you have to make broad accomodations for the "Lowest Common Denominator" factor. And since the "No!" camp is allegedly backed by the huge Christian machine on the mainland, we can expect to see a lot more propoganda between now and November.

I'm really interested in how all this turns out. I suspect, in time, the rest of the nation will be too. I'd wager that in the next few weeks, stories about the vote will start popping up on CNN and in other major newspapers.

Yeesh. I can only imagine the talk around the coffee shops in the heartland. "Oh goodness, what are them wacky Hay-whines up to now?"

Since Kaimuki High didn't have it's usual football game this weekend, mom — possibly the most obsessed band mom in the state — had a rare day off yesterday. So of course she eagerly invited us up to Mililani to make the last push in the "Dress Ryan Decently '98" campaign.

She had me try on the last three slacks she'd finished hemming up during the week, and we went through the downstairs closet pulling out any salvagable dress shirts. Then we headed into town to pick up the last few fashion essentials.

Since I just got my medical insurance card this past week, though, we first dropped Jen off at Lenscrafters. Her contacts were on their last legs anyway, and now that she's professional mom, she didn't want the bother of saline, fizzy tabs and early morning eye injuries.

While she was getting outfitted with a new pair of spectacles, mom and I shopped around for a basic sport coat.

We ended up at Sears, being assisted by a sharp gentleman named Ryan, who gave me my first primer on dressing up. I confessed early on to being a total fashion buffoon, so he set about explaining the difference between wearing a full-on suit versus a coat with nice pants.

I learned that you should never match a coat's color with your pants (unless they were made together as a coordinated suit, it'll always look funny), or even button the second of its two buttons. I also learned that nice clothes — even of the Sears variety — isn't cheap.

Socks aren't cheap either, especially the pairs I ended up picking. I turned out to be very particular about what comes between my feet and my shoes. I couldn't stand socks that were more than half synthetic, and I liked 'em thick, immediately ruling out anything that came in a plastic bag.

Finally, mom steered me over to the shirts, rightfully suspecting that only three or four button-downs in my closet were in wearable condition. Fortunately, the "expensive" streak ended upon our discovering the clearance rack, whereupon I found five nice shirts all priced under $20. A couple were $14.

Since mom had picked up the tab on practically every other item bought for my new wardrobe over the couple of weeks, I insisted on handling it when we got to the cash register. She sheepishly admitted that she didn't even have a Sears card, her last one having been canceled after over eight years of inactivity.

Figures that I would do the right thing and actually pay for something now, though. Just last month I had completely paid off the once astronomical balance on my weathered Sears card.

As we headed back to LensCrafters, mom gave me a few pointers on fabric care and wrinkle prevention. My head began to spin, since — again — I never gave a second thought to what I wore until snagging this job downtown.

I guess it's just the first job in a long time that's really excited me, and I'm actually willing this time to put a little effort into keeping it. If I survive, six months from now, I'll probably know more than anyone needs to know about international trade and the Asian economy. I'll know NT networks and — if all goes as planned — digital video editing and web-based multimedia inside and out. For all I know I might even be bringing Jen and Katie along for the next big meeting... in Sydney, Australia.

Last night while we were in Mililani, we watched the new "Fantasy Island" on CBS. Jen and I had caught the pilot/premiere last weekend and liked it, and I wanted to get mom's take.

She gave it a thumbs up, and I've yet to be disappointed. It's not a great show, it's devoid of any real drama, and Malcolm McDowell is an acquired taste. But it's predictable in a cute sort of way, it doesn't take itself seriously, and — oh yeah — it's filmed in Hawai`i.

I admit. That's the real appeal for me. Just like with "Magnum P.I.," "Hawaii 5-0," "Birds of Paradise," the last season of "Jake and the Fatman," and who knows how many others. Some shows weren't all that great (some were downright awful), but it's a fun thrill to watch and catch Aloha Tower or Chinaman's Hat in the background.

In last night's episode, for example, the Diamond Head trail, Waimea Falls Park and the Maharaja nightclub all made appearances.

Fortunately, the list of TV shows Jen and I make any effort to catch is short. And it's getting shorter.

I'm about ready to take "Law & Order" off, based on the first two episodes of the latest season. I immediately disliked the new assistant D.A., of course — her last gig was on "Baywatch," for cryin' out loud — but the writing is practically unforgivable. The characters are doing and saying things long-time fans know they never would, and some of the legal shenanigans are ridiculous.

We'll probably stick to the reruns on A&E. Jen watches those religiously, anyway, hoping and praying it's an episode from the Chris Noth days.

The only recent addition to the list is — I confess — "Sifl & Olly" on MTV. Yes, I really enjoy watching two sock puppets jabbering away with other sock puppets and assorted inanimate objects.

Intellectually, I justify my attraction to the show by saying the humor and material is simply first rate. These guys are funny, like a 90s take on Wayne and Garth, who just happen to be made of cotton. "Would you like to buy some legless dogs? You don't have to walk them... they're like warm, cuddly throw pillows."

But, when you get right down to it, the fact that they're sock puppets is a big part of the appeal. With "Sifl & Olly," you get the singular pleasure of crossing the "Sock Event Horizon." That's when — after you've spent half an hour wrapped up in the skits and wry dialogue, rolling on the floor laughing — you stop and say, "Oh my god. I'm sitting here watching socks talk!"

Considering the scandalously low production values, "Sifl & Olly" is quite popular. Though I'm sure that doesn't make the elders of America proud, I figure that it's at least a great improvement over "South Park," which has long since exhausted any usefulness in the otherwise worthy battle against political correctness.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 11 October 1998 · Last Modified: 11 October 1998