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Civil Unions in Hawaii

This is a great time for same-sex couples to start planning destination weddings to the Rainbow State!

In just nine short months, on January 1, 2012, Hawaii will allow all couples to enter into Civil Unions. The measure, signed into law this week by new Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, allows gay or straight couples the ability to enter into Civil Unions, giving the same legal recognition as marriage to couples.

“The signing today of this measure says to all of the world that they are welcome. That everyone is a brother or sister here in paradise,” Abercrombie said during the signing ceremony at historic Washington Place. “The legalization of civil unions in Hawaii represents in my mind equal rights for all people.”

Hawaii is only the seventh state to allow Civil Unions. Five other states recognize marriage for all couples, gay and straight.

There are so many options for destination weddings here in the islands. While many people visit one or two islands, there is a weeklong cruise that visits four islands, each with its own personality. Even relaxing at a resort with your family is a great way to celebrate the union of two people in love.

As you start dreaming of digging your toes into the lush sands and staring into the eyes of your partner in front of your friends and family, there are a couple things to note.

While not all Civil Unions are marriages, all marriages are civil unions. A man and a woman will be free to enter into either one after Jan 1, 2012. Rights & benefits are the same for both types of unions in Hawaii. Several states explicitly will not recognize Civil Unions under “Full Faith & Credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution. For instance, Nebraska has a constitutional amendment that doesn’t allow recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships. Full Faith & Credit allows that a marriage performed in one state is valid in all 50 states. Hopefully Full Faith and Credit will be extended to all couples, what with President Obama halting the Department of Justice from defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this week.

In any case, the Rainbow State is proud to welcome you and your partner to celebrate your vows in paradise!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Mar 1, 2011