The state of Hawaii has passed the bill legalising civil unions for gay couples, with votes coming in at 18-5 in favour of the proposal. It has also just appointed its first gay Supreme Court Judge.
Same-sex couples will now have almost all of the same rights as same-sex married couples. It signals a significant change in Hawaiian politics, where a civil unions bill failed last year due to being vetoed by the previous governor, Linda Lingle. Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie is yet to sign the bill into law, but has already pledged his support of the movement.
Governor Abercrombie has been flying the LGBT flag elsewhere too, with his first judicial appointment approved, he has made Sabrina McKenna Supreme Court Judge. She is the first openly gay person to have this role.
Mr Abercrombie has called it, “the most important decision [he] has made in [his] career”. He continues, “This appointment sets the course for the state and its legal direction for the next several years…Judge McKenna’s appointment will be something I’m proud of for the rest of my life.”