Hawaii House OKs civil unions

Feb. 12, 2011 at 1:53 AM

HONOLULU, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The Hawaii House voted 31-19 Friday to legalize civil unions for gay and heterosexual couples in the island state.

The measure now goes back to the state Senate, which approved a similar bill last month. If it approves the House bill with its minor changes as expected, it would go to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who supports the legislation, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Rep. Rida Cabanilla was absent for the House vote, the newspaper said.

  The House version incorporated changes recommended by the state attorney general's office, including clarification that certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that apply to husbands and wives in Hawaii would apply equally to partners in civil unions. Also, family court will have jurisdiction in matters of annulment, divorce and separation in civil unions, the same as with marriages.

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