Civil Unions in Hawaii to be legitimized

Civil Unions in Hawaii to be legitimized

03/11/2011

The legislative measure legalizing the civil union of same-sex and heterosexual couples is expected to be signed into law today by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie.

However, Senate Bill 232 is now creating factions within the visitor industry and the business community in the state of Hawaii concerning how to best gain economic benefits from the measure.

There is no question that the legislation will open up tourism and business opportunities for the state. It will also give the chance to members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT ) communities to celebrate their unions with a legally binding ceremony.

The owners of GayHawaiiWedding.com, Kevin Rebelo and Frank Miholer, said that their business is picking up due to the impending legitimization of civil unions. Rebelo said, “Many couples have already called to start making plans.” He also said, “They are extremely happy that Hawaii is accepting them.”

Hawaii has been known all over the world as a leading wedding and honeymoon destination, which is why some tourism industry members are quick to point out that civil unions will further boost visitor demand and generate jobs.

Nevertheless, they are argue on how important the market will turn out to be to the 7.1 million, $11.4 billion visitor industry in Hawaii, and how much should the state invest in it.

Jo-Ann Adams, the chairwoman of the GLBT Caucus of the Democratic Party, said, “Gay travel is an $84 billion industry worldwide. If we could capture just 1 percent of that, it would solve the state’s deficit problem.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com