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Is Hawaii Poised for Civil Unions

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Gay rights advocates in Hawaii say the state legislature is prepared to pass a civil unions bill when it reconvenes on Wednesday, The Washington Post reports.

The proposal, which easily won preliminary approval in the legislature last May but stalled after several thousand opponents rallied at the state capitol, would grant gay couples all the benefits the state provides to married couples.

"The bill has already been voted on, so there isn't as much convincing to do anymore," said Alan Spector of Equality Hawaii. "I think [legislators] get the substance of the bill and the need for the bill."

Opponents of the proposal haven't given up yet, saying that the fact that this is an election year could hurt the bill's chances. "It's up to the people who oppose civil unions to remind the legislators that they work for the people," said Garret Hashimoto, chairman of the Hawaii Christian Coalition. "There's no ifs, ands, or buts that the majority of people in Hawaii oppose civil unions and gay marriage."

But, as the Post points out, there are no independent polls or surveys that support Hashimoto's claim. The last time voters weighed in on the issue was 1998, when 70% of them approved a constitutional amendment allowing the legislature to block marriage equality.

Read the full story here.

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