HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii voters have opened the way for same-sex civil unions to become state law next year, with an election that gave victory to a pro-gay rights gubernatorial candidate and rejected many church-backed candidates.
The state House and Senate retained the Democratic majorities that approved a civil unions bill this year before it was vetoed, and Democratic Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie has said he will sign a similar law if passed by the Legislature.
The move would make Hawaii, long a battleground in the gay rights movement, the sixth state to grant essentially the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.
Five other states and the District of Columbia now permit same-sex marriage.
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