The Hawaii House has just approved its civil unions bill by a vote of 31-19!
The bill now goes back to the Senate, which passed a similar version of the measure last month. If the Senate agrees to changes in the bill made by the House, the measure would go to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who supports civil unions legislation. Senate Bill 232 would grant same-sex and heterosexual couples the ability to enter into a civil union with all of the rights, protections, benefits and responsibilities of traditional marriage.
The House changes — recommended by the state Attorney General’s Office — clarify that because civil unions will not be recognized under federal law, certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to husbands and wives in Hawaii would apply with the same force and effect to partners in civil unions. Family Court will also have jurisdiction in matters of annulment, divorce and separation in civil unions, as the court does over marriages.
Just one more step!