Civil Unions Bill Passes out of Senate Judiciary
By Wendy Osher
A senate committee yesterday narrowly passed a bill relating to civil unions. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill in a 3 (Hee, Shimabukuro, Ihara) to 2 (Gabbard, Slom) vote clearing the way for the measure to advance to the full senate for consideration.
The measure is intended to recognize civil unions in Hawaii by extending the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage, to partners in a civil union. State lawmakers say it is not the legislature’s intent to revise the definition or eligibility requirements of marriage under chapter 572, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
Under the current version of the bill, implementation is proposed for January 1, 2012.