By Diane Ako
Most days, my husband or I will drop Olivia off at school, and our babysitter picks her up after school. Therefore, the students have seen all three of us. Apparently, they will tell Olivia when they see the sitter, "Your dad's here."
I wrote a previous blog about how Olivia went through a phase of saying she had two daddies. That was before she was in preschool. Now it's not her, but the other kids saying it. She apparently corrects them and says it's not her dad.
I guess this has been going on a while but I only heard about it recently, and I find it funny. I teased Claus and the sitter that, now this could theoretically be a reality as Hawaii's become the seventh state in the nation to legalize civil unions.
On a more serious note, now that Governor Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 232 into law this week, same sex couples will be able to start entering into civil unions January 1, 2012. State House Representative Tom Brower (23- Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako), who voted for the bill, held a committee on Tuesday to look at the issue of how civil union ceremonies might affect tourism.
"As Chair of our Tourism Committee, I wanted to explore possibilities to boost our market capture. Now that we have legalized civil unions, we might be able to increase tourist numbers as people will see Hawaii as more inclusive destination," he told me after what he called a "successful" public forum.
Of the nine speakers at the meeting, only one was from a hotel (not my employer). Various suggestions included the need for increased advertising, and specifically tailored to the gay market; the creation of more gay infrastructure, and the creation of more gay "anchor" events. Kamalani Wilson of Lesbian & Gay Business of Hawaii is quoted as saying Hawaii is ranked 18 on a list of most desirable places for gays to travel. JoAnne Adams of the GLBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii is quoted as saying that worldwide, gay travel represents $84 billion; if would be great if Hawaii could get even one percent of that. Without commenting on the moral controversy surrounding the issue, it's clear that from a purely economic standpoint, there is money to be made here.
Rep. Brower says he would be open to holding another similar forum if the need arises in the future.
Where do you stand on the new civil unions law? IF you were to attend Rep. Brower's public forum, would you have had suggestions on how to promote gay tourism in Hawaii?
Also reach me via DianeAko.com