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Abercrombie will sign civil unions bill Wednesday

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Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced today that he will sign the civil unions bill Wednesday at Washington Place, a day earlier than originally scheduled.

The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Video will be streamed live at the governor’s website at http://hawaii.gov/gov.

The state Senate on Wednesday voted 18-5 to give final legislative approval to Senate Bil 232, which would legalize civil unions in Hawaii. The bill allows all couples — same-sex and heterosexual — to enter into a civil union, a legal status with all the rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities as traditional marriage.

Hawaii would 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.

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