Hawaii Legislature approves civil unions

Hawaii legislators approved a bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples on Wednesday.

Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he plans to sign the bill within 10 business days. The civil unions could then begin on Jan. 1, 2012. This would make Hawaii the seventh state to approve civil unions without granting full marriage for same-sex couples.

In 1998, Hawaii voters approved a constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage. However, last year the legislature passed a similar bill that was vetoed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican.

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