Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law making it the seventh state to allow for civil unions for same-sex couples. Civil unions will begin on Jan.1, 2012. Five other states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriages.
A crowd of supporters surrounded the governor as he signed the bill. Last year a similar bill passed the Hawaii Legislature, but was later vetoed by then Republican Gov. Linda Lingle. However, the bill cleared the House and Senate this session with very little disruption.
Abercrombie said the bill represents equal rights for everyone and gives the world the message that the Aloha State is welcoming of all people.