Hawaii State House Approves Bill to Protect Same-Sex Couples

On Friday, Hawaii State House passed SB 232 SD1 HD1 by a 31-19 vote. The bill provides that equal rights and responsibilities of married couples in Hawaii be afforded to thousands of non-married couples in the state – including same-sex couples.

“Today is a great day for the people of Hawaii,” said Alan Spector, co-chair for Equality Hawaii. “The action taken by the House today sends a strong message that our state recognizes the importance of moving towards equality. Providing equal rights to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is long overdue and we thank all those who have stood with us to make this day a reality.”

After minor changes were made in the House, the bill now heads to back to the Senate for agreement on the amendments before heading to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. SB 232 SD1 passed the Hawaii Senate on January 28, by a 19-6 vote. Except for some technical corrections and implementation amendments, the bill is identical to HB 444, the civil unions bill passed in 2010. That bill passed the House and Senate with near supermajorities before Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed it. No override vote was held.