16 Feb 2011

Hawaii's Senate defers vote on redrafted civil union bill

8:52 pm on 16 February 2011

Hawaii's Senate has deferred a final vote on the US state's redrafted civil union bill until tomorrow.

The bill is expected to pass and be approved by Governor Neil Abercrombie.

The bill allows all couples - same-sex or heterosexual - to enter into a civil union, a legal status with all the rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of traditional marriage.

Hawaii's Civil Rights Commission director, Bill Hoshijo, says it's time to move forward.

"It has been an emotional issue, and proponents and opponents feel very strongly about their positions on the bill. And so I am sure that at and around today's vote there will be continuing controversy and efforts, both by proponents and opponents, to influence Governor Abercrombie."

Bill Hoshijo says similar civil union legislation was passed by the legislature last year, but vetoed at the last minute by former Governor Linda Lingle.