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Hawaii lawmakers shelve civil union bill

[JURIST] Hawaii legislators have shelved a proposal [HB 908 summary; text] to create civil unions [JURIST news archive] for same-sex couples, indicating that the state legislature did not have enough votes to pass the law. The state House Judiciary Committee [official website] declined to vote on the proposal after hours of testimony Tuesday without explaining the reasons for deferring debate. Hawaii was one of the first states to consider same-sex marriage when the Hawaii Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion] in 1996 that same-sex couples cannot be denied marriage, but a 1998 constitutional amendment [Hawaii constitution] defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey each recognize civil unions for same-sex couples, while Massachusetts [JURIST report] is the only US state to legally recognize same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month, New Jersey became the first state to recognize [JURIST report] same-sex marriage and civil unions from out of state jurisdictions. AP has more. The Honolulu Advertiser has local coverage.

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