|Does lose some of its zest|
One might make a crack about this being no surprise coming from a state that’s made its touristic reputation from flowery necklaces and half-naked dancers*, but personally, I’m just happy to see yet another step in the right direction:
HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday to allow civil unions for same-sex couples, marking an end to what the governor called an "emotional process" for a longtime battleground in the gay rights movement.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office said he intends to sign the bill into law within 10 business days. Civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012, making the state the seventh in the nation to grant essentially the same rights of marriage to same-sex couples without authorizing marriage itself.
"I'm overjoyed. I'm so relieved. I'm so happy," said Kristin Bacon of Honolulu, who intends to get a civil union with her partner of 15 years. "We're really representing aloha and the aloha spirit with this vote. I'm thrilled."
Bacon was among a crowd of supporters wearing rainbow-colored lei and stickers saying "Equality" as they cheered, hugged and cried for joy after the Senate's 18-5 vote. The House passed the bill last week.
Gay rights advocates praised the vote as a victory for equal rights in a state known for its diversity and tolerance.
Opponents of the measure, many of them Christians, said civil unions erode the concept of the traditional family and could lead to same-sex marriage.
Of course, that’s exactly what we want … even moreso if it’ll make their self-righteous heads explode.