Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriages earlier this month, but the nineteen Hawaii state representatives who voted against it got an early Christmas present this week.
The lawmakers each received a black box with green tissue paper in the mail; enclosed was a red pouch with a hard black substance. According to Hawaii News Now, a typed note inside 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.”
Lawmakers initially thought the black substance was lava rock — according to Hawaiian legend, possessing lava rock angers the volcano goddess Pele and brings bad luck — but further examination determined it to be a lump of coal.
“Yeah I think the message is that I have not been a good boy this year,” Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D) told Hawaii News Now. “I have been naughty, not nice.”
The Hilo Medical Center was listed as the return address on the packages, but the center denies any involvement or knowledge of the prank. Tracking numbers indicate exactly when and from where the boxes were sent, but since it’s not illegal to send legislators coal, the police don’t plan on investigating further.
The lawmakers don’t feel threatened or even discouraged. Some, like Rep. Oshiro, greeted the stunt with sarcasm, calling the coal a “keepsake” and wishing the sender a merry Christmas. Others, like Rep. Richard Fale (R) who grew up poor on the Polynesian island of Tonga, scoffed at the message:
“We got lickins when we weren’t doing what we were supposed to be doing,” Fale told Hawaii News Now. “I guess kids on the mainland that’s actually a better thing. I would rather get a piece of coal in my stockings than lickins.”