Gov. Abercrombie Signs Historic Marriage Equity Legislation into Law

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law a bill that will legalize marriage for same-sex couples in the State of Hawaii. The Governor signed Senate Bill 1 in a ceremony at the Hawaii Convention Center.

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This new law recognizes marriages between individuals of the same sex and extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage that opposite-sex couples receive.

The new law takes effect on Dec. 2, 2013. Hawaii is now the 15th state in the nation to fully embrace marriage equity.

“The legalization of marriage for same-sex couples is part of the long history of civil rights movements in the United States,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “Many people have worked tireless to make this day possible. This significant piece of legislation is a clear example of people exercising courage, determination and patient perseverance. The result advances equity in marriage and honors all First Amendment religious imperatives.”

“We have moved into a new era of Aloha for same-sex couples, who can now share in the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Attorney General David Louie.

“Although Hawaii was not the first to enact same-sex marriage, what shouldn’t be lost is Hawaii was the first in the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit, that started the same-sex marriage discussion nationally,” said Sen. Clayton Hee, chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “I am pleased today to be able to open a new chapter in our state’s history and to join the growing list of states in conferring to all Americans equal treatment under the law.”

Gov. Abercrombie has always been a strong advocate for equal rights. In 2011, the first bill he signed into law as Governor legalized civil unions, making Hawaii the seventh state to grant such privileges to same-sex couples.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that denied federal benefits to same-sex couples who were married under state law. The court’s decision means that same-sex couples who are married in states where it is legal can take advantage of tax breaks, pension rights and other benefits available to married couples.

 

Hawaii State Civil Union On-Line Applications to be Activated

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) today announced new information about the state’s upcoming civil union on-line application process scheduled to be activated on January 1, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

“People in Hawai‘i and in other parts of the world are eager to get more information and begin planning their civil union ceremonies in Hawai‘i,” said Dr. Alvin Onaka, DOH state registrar. “We will be ready at midnight on January 1 with an accurate and efficient on-line process that will serve the public well for submitting applications, paying fees, registering events, and receiving their certificates for civil unions.”

DOH currently lists frequently asked questions and answers about the civil union law at

www.hawaii.gov/doh/civilunion. The FAQ includes answers to questions such as: who will be eligible to apply for a civil union? What are the steps for getting a civil union?

How do I receive a civil union license? And how do I register my civil union with the State?

The DOH monitors health status to identify community health problems and trends. An

important part of this work is done by collecting, compiling, and analyzing records of vital events that include all births, deaths, marriages and now civil unions that take place within our state.

Wordless Wednesday (II) – Happy 9th Anniversay

Nine years ago today, my wife and I got married. I love you Nik!