First civil union couples set to wed New Year's at midnight

Gary Bradley and Paul Perry
Gary Bradley and Paul Perry

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gary Bradley and Paul Perry have their shirts and shoes picked out for their big day when they say I do.

"They will stand in front of us and say do you two civil unionize each other I guess and we say yes," said Bradley.

They will be the first men in Hawaii to wed under the state's new civil union law.  At midnight on New Year's Eve they and three other female couples will have a ceremony to mark the closest thing they have to marriage.

"Having it on the first I can't think of a better way to spend new year's eve, New Year's Day than saying I love you to someone I really love," said Bradley.

But before it's official there are several steps.  Couples must go online, apply for the license and answer several questions, including about both sets of parents.

Then you have to have a licensed agent specifically authorized for civil unions perform the ceremony.  Couples do not have to be a Hawaii resident and there are no blood tests required.  You do have to be 18 or older and there is a $65 fee.

"There have been little hiccups along the way just because it's something that is brand new," said Bradley.

In their case they had to terminate their reciprocal benefits first so that they can get the civil union benefits.

"Then you would just notify your employer so you should be treated just like other couples that have spousal benefits," explained Suzanne King, Citizens for Equal Rights.

Couples like Suzanne King and Tambry Young, who were previously married in Massachusetts, will automatically be recognized under Hawaii's civil union law.

"Once January 1 hits for Hawaii and civil unions are effective our marriage will be recognized as civil union and I will officially be Suzanne Young," said King.

Gary and Paul have been together three and a half years and are eager to make it a lifetime.

"We're ready to go yeah," said Bradley.

The State Department of Health has the application and information online regarding civil unions. CLICK HERE for the link.

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