A group called the Aloha Family Alliance this week sent out thousands of fliers showing two men in black suits embracing, about to kiss. They appear to be getting married.
The caption on the flier read, "Don't be fooled. Civil unions is same sex marriage."
It targets State Rep. Blake Oshiro (D) a gay attorney who is the author of the civil unions bill to give homosexual and heterosexual all the benefits of marriage under Hawaii state law. HB444, as the civil unions legislation is popularly known, was vetoed this summer by Gov. Linda Lingle (R).
Oshiro said Thursday he was surprised and disappointed his opponents would go on the attack just days before Hawaii's primary election Saturday.
"I think it is sad people need to resort to such negative imagery in order to get their point across," said Oshiro.
The flier urged support for Oshiro's Democratic primary election opponent Honolulu Councilman Gary Okino, a staunch opponent of civil unions.
Okino has made a crusade out of trying to block legislation that benefits gays.
"If you want a society that is righteous, moral, that is what you have to base your vote on," Okino said Wednesday.
The Aloha Family Alliance that sponsored the flier was described by member James Silva as a small group of six mostly Catholic men from the Aina Haina area.
A word in the flier is misspelled
Oshiro said, "I hope they learn to spell. They spelled some things wrong, but I would hope they realize negative campaigning sometimes ends up hurting the candidate they are trying to help."
Silva said the flier is not negative but rather attention-getting to make sure voters support Okino at the polls.
But Oshiro said after the flier appeared, many people called and e-mailed to offer him their support.
"I received calls from about 15 people who said this turned their stomach, and so, they were definitely going to be voting for me and tell their friends because they found this distasteful," said Oshiro.