On Wednesday, Governor Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii signed Bill 232 into law, giving same-sex couples the right to join in civil unions in that state. Gay and lesbian couples will enjoy many of the same benefits, rights and responsibilities of heterosexual married couples in Hawaii. The bill is now law but won’t take effect until January 1, 2012. It comes after 20 years of battles over the issue in the state and is the first law for the governor to sign since taking office.
“We congratulate the Hawaii Legislature for their leadership in approving this civil union bill and Governor Abercrombie for signing it into law,” said Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA’s Media Director. “Civil unions are an important stepping stone to providing equal protection to all of Hawaii’s families. We celebrate with all the Hawaiians who have worked hard to ensure this victory and had their courage to share their personal stories. And we will continue to work with them so that one day in Hawaii, where it all began, marriage equality is the law of the land.”
Pamela Brown, Marriage Equality USA’s Policy Director said, “For Shauna and I, this issue is deeply personal. We are considered a married couple in California, but when we visit our ‘Ohana in Hawaii, reciprocal beneficiary status gives us little protection and recognition. Our Hawaii relatives recognize us as a family, now it is wonderful for Hawaii’s government to do the same. As has been said in the movies, ‘Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind. Hawaii’s gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be welcomed home with open arms and Governor Abercrombie did just that by signing SB 232 into law.”