Historic Civil Unions Bill Signed into Law Today - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Historic Civil Unions Bill Signed into Law Today

It's an historic day for the State of Hawaii. Today, Governor Neil Abercrombie will legalize civil unions for same-sex and opposite sex couples. The controversial law makes Hawaii one of the few, yet growing states in the country, to provide the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. Ramsay Wharton is live from Washington Place this morning, where the SB232 will be signed into law at 2:00 pm today. She chats with Justice Steve Levinson about the bill and its implementation when it goes into effect January 1, 2012.  Scroll thru the Video Gallery for more and Watch the WEBXTRA: Extended Interview with Justice Levinson on the legalities of Civil Unions.

The LGBT Network and the ACLU are hosting a celebration event at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel.
Hulas will also be hosting a celebration from 1:00pm-7:00pm.  Attendees 21+,  will receive a free cocktail.

Watch the bill signing STREAMING LIVE right here at www.HawaiiNewsNow.com.

For more information on SB232: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/Bills/SB232_HD1_.HTM

Highlights of new Civil Union laws:

1) Must be 18 & NOT close relatives or in guardianship
2) Must acquire a Civil Union License (to be created like a marriage license..around $60)
3) Those who preform Civil Unions, must be licensed
4) No fine for those who refuse to perform Civil Unions
5) Civil Union partners, whether same-sex or opposite-sex couples, file STATE taxes with such status
6) May file for Civil Union annulment, separation, or divorce in Family Court
7) State will recognize legitimate same-sex marriages & civil unions performed in other states

Hawai'i will join these states in offering Civil Unions (or its equivalent) to their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LBGT) citizens:

California (CA court is expected to rule at the end of the year, on whether a ballot initiative that denied gay marriage should be overturned on procedural grounds.)
New Jersey

Marriage Equality through "same-sex marriage" is only available in 5 states:
New Hampshire
District of Columbia

Colorado, Maine, Maryland, and Wisconsin offer limited partnership rights to their LGBT citizens.
Rhode Island's Governor has said he'll sign a same-sex marriage bill into law.
New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo campaigned on same-sex marriage and is pushing for such changes in New York.

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