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Civil unions bill 1 vote away from final legislative approval

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 3:22 p.m. HST, Feb 14, 2011

A proposal to legalize civil unions in Hawaii is one vote away from going to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who supports the legislation.
The state Senate today agreed to changes made by the House to its version of the civil unions measure, Senate Bill 232.

A final vote on the proposal is set for tomorrow. The Senate previously approved the measure 19-6.
The bill allows all couples — same-sex or heterosexual — to enter into a civil union, a legal status with all the rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of traditional marriage.
House members approved their version of SB 232 in a 31-19 vote Friday.
The latest version clarifies that because civil unions will not be recognized under federal law, certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to husbands and wives in Hawaii would apply with the same force and effect to partners in civil unions.

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