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The Honolulu Advertiser

By Derrick DePledge

Posted on: Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gabbard gets court order against activist

 • Hawaii Senate passes civil-unions bill, 18-7

State Sen. Mike Gabbard obtained a temporary restraining order yesterday against a gay rights activist who allegedly punched him at a traditional-values rally at the state Capitol on Sunday.

Ward Stewart, who is 80, was ordered by the District Court in Honolulu not to contact, threaten or physically harass Gabbard or visit the senator at his home or business. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 1.

Gabbard, D-19th (Kapolei, Makakilo, Waikele), also has told police he is willing to press charges for the assault. He said Stewart punched him in the chest and tried to jam a protest sign in his face before he was subdued.

Gabbard, one of the main opponents of same-sex marriage in the 1990s, initially said earlier this week that he did not plan to press charges. He reconsidered, he said, out of concern for the safety of his family and his Capitol staff.

Stewart laughed when informed by a reporter about the temporary restraining order. He and Gabbard have had a history of exchanges over two decades.

"I poked him in the chest with my index finger," Stewart said. "That's it. That was the awful assault."