17 Feb 2011

Hawaii civil union vote welcomed by lobby group

4:17 pm on 17 February 2011

The lobby group, Equality Hawaii, says the passing of the civil union bill by the legislature shows lawmakers are still in favour of change.

This is the second time in ten months that the legislature has passed the measure, as the former Governor Linda Lingle had vetoed the previous civil union bill.

The Senate's 18 to five vote supports gay and lesbian couples to have the same legal rights and benefits that the state provides to married couples.

A spokesperson for Equality, Don Bentz, says there are a few amendments, but it is still welcome news, especially as the Governor supports it.

"We're certainly excited that Hawaii is about to extend the same rights responsibilities and benefits to same sex couples, as opposite sex couples that are in marriage. The Governor has stated several times during his campaign speeches and after his election that he'd sign this bill if the Legislature got it to his desk."

Governor Neil Abercrombie has ten days to sign the bill into law allowing civil unions to be legally recognised in the state from next year.