Hawaii Ushers in the New Year with Civil Unions
January 2, 2012 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
On Sunday, Hawaii moved a step closer to equality as the state's civil unions law went into effect. The new law grants all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage to lesbian and gay couples.
Signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in February, the passage of the law was the culmination of years of work by HRC, Equality Hawaii and other local advocates.
"This new law will provide a much needed legal framework to support and fortify the bonds between couples and families," said Equality Hawaii Foundation Co-Chair Gigi Lee.
While providing state-level protections for loving, committed couples who cannot or do not wish to be in a marriage, it does not confer any of the rights and responsibilities on the federal level due to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
Civil unions are a monumental step forward, but equality advocates have always been upfront about what true equality means – marriage.
"Marriage is still the ultimate expression of love and commitment in our society," Equality Hawaii Advisory Board Member Alan Spector said. "To argue this isn't the case for same-sex couples is to deny their very membership in society and their investment in its collective beliefs and aspirations."
Our partners at Equality Hawaii, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Hawaii released a guide for couples contemplating entering into a civil union. View the guide.
Our congratulations and thanks to all our members who made this possible. We look forward to our continued work in 2012 to secure marriage equality in the Aloha State.
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