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Hawaii Senate Passes Civil Unions

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The Hawaii state senate approved a bill that would legalize civil unions by a vote of 18-7 Friday. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the final vote came after an amendment to change the effective date, which would have retroactively enacted civil unions, of the legislation failed to garner enough votes to pass.

The state house will now consider the amended bill, HB 444 SD1, which contains the changed effective date. If passed by both the house and a conference committee, the bill would then head to Gov. Linda Lingle's desk. Though she may veto the bill, the legislature's Democratic majority may have enough votes to override her veto, according to the Associated Press.

"This particular fight for HB 444 has spanned more than two years, but is just one more step in the decade's long struggle for equality that so many residents of Hawaii have sought," Alan Spector, legislative affairs cochair for Equality Hawaii, said in a statement. "The road has been long and the fight has been emotional, but today we're one step closer to providing equal rights and responsibilities to all of Hawaii's loving couples and their families."

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