Hawai‘i Civil Union Registration Begins in New Year
By Wendy Osher
The state is expected to activate an online application process for civil unions in the new year.
“People in Hawai‘i and in other parts of the world are eager to get more information and begin planning their civil union ceremonies in Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Alvin Onaka, state registrar with the Department of Health.
The online applications will become available at midnight on January 1, 2012. The online service includes application entry, fee payment, event registration, and requests for civil union certificates.
Senate Bill 232 was approved by the state legislature in February, and was signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie on February 23, 2011.
The bill, now referred to as Act 1, takes effect on January 1, 2012, effectively recognizing civil unions in the state. The law grants same-sex couples many of the same rights and privileges as legally married couples in Hawai’i.
The DOH currently lists frequently asked questions and answers about the new civil union law at www.hawaii.gov/doh/civilunion.
The website includes answers to questions such as: who is eligible to apply for a civil union; what are the steps for getting a civil union; how to receive a civil union license; and how to register civil unions with the state.
The state Department of Health will be tasked with collecting and compiling data on civil unions in Hawaii, as it already does with all births, deaths, marriages and other vital events.
The information is used to monitor health status, and to identify community health problems and trends.