Civil unions could have economic impact on Hawaii

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The historic civil unions bill is set to become law at 2 p.m. Wednesday with Gov. Neil Abercrombie's signature.

Abercrombie plans to sign the legislation during a ceremony at Washington Place mansion and museum.

Civil unions would start Jan. 1, 2012, making Hawaii the seventh state to permit civil unions or similar legal recognition for gay couples.

Five states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, members of Hawaii's lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community spoke to lawmakers about the economic impact of civil unions on the state's economy.

Members of the LGBT community encouraged lawmakers to actively market to this segment of the population.

One Hawaii hotel is gearing up for the passage of the civil unions measure.

Aqua Hotel and Resorts has 16 properties in Hawaii, 11 in Waikiki alone.

Its senior vice president, Guy Underkoffler, says his company is already active in marketing to this segment of the population both nationally and internationally.

But he thinks the passage of civil unions, will simply mean more opportunities -- and more money -- for businesses who go after that market.

Hawaii News Now will stream the signing live on our website.

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