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House Judiciary panel plans hearing on civil unions bill

The Hawaii House Judiciary Committee is taking up same-sex civil unions next week after the legislation already passed the state Senate.

The committee announced it has scheduled a public hearing on the bill Tuesday.

The measure would grant some of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.

It’s nearly identical to a similar bill that passed the Legislature last year before it was vetoed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican. New Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he supports civil unions.

The Judiciary Committee also will consider a separate civil unions bill during the same hearing.

The new bill provides many more details on implementation, rights, responsibilities and terminations of civil unions.

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