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Governor to sign civil unions bill into law next week

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 05:51 p.m. HST, Feb 17, 2011

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign the civil unions bill into law at a Washington Place ceremony next Thursday, his office announced today.

Senate Bill 232 bill, which passed its last step at the Legislature yesterday when the Senate voted 18-5 in favor, allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions starting Jan. 1.

Hawaii will become the seventh state to grant civil unions to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself. Five states and Washington, D.C., permit same-sex marriage.

After the Senate vote, Abercrombie said civil unions "respect our diversity, protect people's privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha."

"This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended," he said. "Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected.

"For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii."

The bill signing ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m., Feb. 24, and will be streamed live at http://hawaii.gov/gov. 

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