Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie signed same-sex civil unions into law yesterday, calling it "a triumph for everyone" that gay and lesbian couples will have the same state rights as married partners. Civil unions in the Rainbow State will start Jan. 1, 2012, making Hawaii the seventh state to permit them. "This bill represents equal rights for everyone in Hawaii, everyone who comes here. This is to me the essence of the aloha spirit," Abercrombie said at a signing ceremony.
A crowd of exuberant supporters yelled, cheered, and applauded as the Democrat inscribed his signature on the legislation, making it the first law he's enacted since he was elected in November. “We deserve the same rights as everyone else. It's been a long, long time coming," said a supporter. (Read more Hawaii stories.)