If the Republicans have their way in Hawaii, nobody's going to get lei'd.
Republicans in Hawaii say they don't care. They're adamant about not passing same sex marriage in their state of Hawaii. And their reason? Don't have one. From KITV-News, throwing away $2.17 Billion should be something they think long and hard about when their state stays solvent on tourism dollars.
According to Yahoo statistics:
Nearly 8 million travelers — 7,998,815, to be exact — visited the islands in 2012. That's an increase of nearly 10 per cent over the previous year. It also breaks the previous record of 7.6 million visitors marked in 2006, before the financial crisis and recession encouraged travelers to stay home.
Travelers spent a record $14.3 billion in Hawaii last year. This is nearly 19 per cent more than they spent in 2011 and it beats the annual spending record of $12.8 billion marked in 2007.
The agency expects continued growth this year, with the visitors expected to exceed 8 million in 2013 and spending forecast to top $14.8 billion.
What's at stake here is a lot of money as well as justice. When Prop 8 was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year, the signal had been sent out that laws against same-sex marriage were discriminatory. Evidently the word hasn't gotten out as far as Hawaii yet. Or maybe they just mis-heard the Conch Shell message. At least by those Republicans in the Hawaiian state legislature.
The amazing thing is that the financially strapped state makes a majority of its money in the tourism business. 80% of commerce on the islands is tourism related. Without the millions of guests annually, the state could not exist.
So what would happen if same-sex marriage were to become legal in our 50th State? Most likely a huge bounce in wedding destinations. With those weddings come guests. With the guests, come spending. Huge increased revenue.
As it is, Hawaii is considered a premiere honeymoon destination. Think now if all of those couples were to have their whole wedding parties in the state, holding services there as well. They would need to build more islands just to hold the overflow.
It's time for the republicans, who are the ones trying to stack the legislative committee to rule against this bill coming to the floor to stop and take an assessment of what they're doing. The entire state's economy is predicated on strong tourism. All they have to do is what's right and fair. It's bad enough they discriminate against their own Native Hawaiian people. They must fix that and at the same time, do what's best for all who live and work in Hawaii.
Show your colors. The rainbow of colors. Legalize same sex marriage and reap the rewards.