Hawaii Becomes The 7th State To Allow Civil Unions

02.24.11 | Sarah Harnisch

Hawaii has become the 7th state to recognize civil unions. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the law Wednesday; and it takes effect on January 1. It extends the same rights and benefits to partners in a civil union that spouses in a marriage enjoy. Five states and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hawaii joins New Jersey in allowing civil unions. Three states -- Rhode Island, New York and Maryland -- recognize same-sex marriages from other states.