Same-Sex Civil Unions Passed by Senate
By David Kvasnicka
The state Senate has passed an historic bill to allow same sex civil unions in the state of Hawaii. The Civil Unions Bill must now be signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie, who has previously promised to sign any such bill if passed to him. The bill has survived years of debate, a veto by the previous governor, and a vocal opposition.
The governor’s office released a statement following the bill’s (Senate Bill 232) approval by the Senate, saying that Abercrombie has 10 legislative days to sign it.
“I have always believed that civil unions respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha,” the statement from Abercrombie reads. “I appreciate all the time and effort invested by those who shared their thoughts and concerns regarding civil unions in Hawaii. This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended. Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected. For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii.”
Abercrombie earlier this year said that he believes that legalizing same-sex civil unions could boost the Hawaiian economy by attracting more people to visit the islands. Hawaii is already recognized as one of the most idyllic places in the world to get married and share a honeymoon.
Five other states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex civil unions. The previous governor, Linda Lingle, vetoed a similar civil unions bill the last time it was passed.