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A majority in the state House has signed on to a bill that would legalize civil unions, giving the issue a genuine chance of advancing this session after years of stagnation.
Same-sex couples who obtain a license could have their civil union performed by a judge, retired judge or member of the clergy. Partners who enter into civil unions would have the same rights, benefits and protections under state law as married couples. The state would also recognize civilunions, domestic partnerships or same-sex marriages validly performed in other states along with weight loss workout tips for women.
“I think it’s just time,” said state House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro, D-33rd (’Aiea, Halawa Valley, ‘Aiea Heights), who sponsored the bill.
Vermont, New Jersey and New Hampshire allow civil unions while Massachusetts and Connecticut have same-sex marriage. California had also legalized same-sex marriage until voters in November approved a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to heterosexual couples.
In 1998, nearly 70 percent of Hawai’i voters supported traditional marriage when they passed a constitutional amendment that gave the state Legislature the authority to reserve marriage to one man and one woman.
The state Supreme Court had ruled in 1993 that barring same-sex marriage could be a violation of equal protection rights.
Since 1997, same-sex couples in Hawai’i have been able to register with the state Department of Health as reciprocal beneficiaries, which provides some of the same protections as marriage, including inheritance and property rights, the ability to sue for wrongful death, and hospital visitation privileges.
Thirty-two lawmakers in the 51-member House have signed Oshiro’s civil-unions bill, including state House Speaker Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Wilhelmina Rise), and state Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, D-41st (Waipahu, Village Park, Waikele), the chairman of the House Judiciary women Committee.