Hawaii Governor to Sign Same-Sex Civil Unions Bill

February 23, 2011 - 6:02 PM

Honolulu (AP) - Same-sex civil unions will become legal in Hawaii when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signs a bill granting gay partners the same state rights as married couples.

Abercrombie plans to sign the legislation during a ceremony on Wednesday.

Civil unions would start Jan. 1, 2012, making Hawaii the seventh state to permit civil unions or similar legal recognition for gay couples.

Five states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.

The civil unions bill will be the first legislation that the Democratic governor signs into law since he was elected in November.

The measure passed the Legislature last week following more than two years of large protests and election battles.