The Hawaii State Senate has voted 19-6 to approve new legislation that ensures the right of a civil union between same-sex couples. The Senate was the last major hurdle before this could move to the Hawaii House.
Insiders in the Hawaii House of Representatives have said that definitely they have the votes necessary to pass the legislation. After passing the House, the desk of new Governor Neil Abercrombie is the next stop. However, he has already stated, numerous times now, that he supports same-sex civil unions. Needless to say, many in Hawaii are both ecstatic and others apparently are saddened by this all-but-certain outcome. When interviewed, John Lowell, a self-identified LGBT community member in Honolulu, said that he and the community that he identifies with feels, “that justice and equal rights are finally just around the corner.” Calls to the Maui Tea Party were not returned and therefore did not comment on this legislation.
If passed, this new development would make Hawaii the 6th state to grant at least some proportion of rights to marriages of same-sex couples, falling short of the term ‘marriage’. Illinois was the 5th state, last month, to pass similar legislation.
The Hawaii Legislature has indicated that they plan to pass the bill swiftly in order to have it signed off by the new Governor this year.