Hawaii's House lawmakers who voted against the state's bill that recently legalized same-sex marriage have received a stocking full of coal in the mail by an anonymous sender this past week.
The 19 members of the state's House of Representatives who voted against Hawaii Senate Bill 1 received in the mail last Thursday black boxes, each one containing a large lump of coal wrapped in a red pouch and nestled in a bed of green tissue paper. A note acompanying the strange delivery read: "You left a piece of your heart at the State Building when you voted on SB-1 [the marriage equality bill] […] Your lifestyle choice of judging others and ignorance is very unfortunate. Good luck in the next election."
The packages were tracked to their return address, which was listed as the Hilo Medical Center on the big island of Hawaii, but the center has denied any involvement with the prank. Since it is not technically illegal to send coal to state politicians, the legislators have said they have no intention pursuing the peculiar package's origins further. None of the state's senators who voted "no" on the bill received a package.
The legislators interviewed by Hawaii News Now about the prank have taken it in stride, saying that they find the package to be unusual and they hope the sender has a Merry Christmas.
"It is very unusual. It made its point and for me it's a keepsake that I will hold onto for a long time," Rep. Marcus Oshiro told Hawaii News Now. "I just want to thank the person who sent it to me anonymously, Merry Christmas, mele kalikimaka, hauoli makahiki hou."
Rep. Richard Fale added: "I feel sad for this person. That's what it tells me. This individual I hope gets some kind of help or assistance. There is something missing in their life."
The state's democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 1 into law earlier in November after calling a special session to have the bill addressed. He said in a statement following the bill's passage that "in Hawaii, we believe in fairness, justice and human equality. Today, we celebrate our diversity defining us rather than dividing us."
Hawaii now becomes the 15th state to legalize gay marriage, and the law officially takes effect December 2.