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State Senate passes civil unions bill

The Hawaii Senate has approved same-sex civil unions, setting up the measure for final passage.

The Senate passed the bill on an 18-7 vote Friday, moving the measure to the House and sending a strong signal that the Legislature's Democratic majority has enough votes to override a potential veto from Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.

The measure would grant gay and straight couples the same rights and benefits the state provides to married couples.

The vote puts pressure on the House, which will decide as soon as next week whether it will take up measure. The House passed a similar bill last year.


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