Hawaii paves way for same-sex civil unions

Sun. November 7, 2010 11:01 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

Honolulu, Hawaii - The midterm elections loaded up Hawaii's government with pro-civil union leaders from the Governor's Mansion on down, a change that analysts say will pave the way for Hawaii to legalize same-sex marriage next year.

Voters kept Democratic majorities in the Hawaii State House and Senate. Earlier this year, those legislators approved a same-sex civil union law, but it was vetoed by the previous governor.

However, Democratic Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie said he will sign any new civil union legislation.

Legislation under consideration would give gays and lesbians the same state rights as married straight couples.

"I'm hopeful, but I would never want to call any shots until the final vote is taken," Majority Leader Blake Oshiro, who is gay, told the Associated Press. "While I remain optimistic, there's still a lot of work to be done."

In 1993, Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians should have the right to marry. However, that ruling was gutted when Hawaiians approved the country's first-ever "Defense of Marriage Act" limiting marriage to a man and a woman.

The AP said that a civil union law in Hawaii would make it the sixth state to essentially provide gays and lesbians with the same protections offered to straight married couples.