Hawaii Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions

The Hawaii Legislature approved a bill today which will allow civil unions for same-sex couples. This will send the measure to the state’s Democratic governor, who has said he will sign it into law.

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office said he intends to sign the bill within 10 days, and civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012.

“I have always believed that civil unions respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha,” Abercrombie said in a statement released minutes after today’s vote. “For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii.”

The Senate voted 18-5 in favor of the bill.