Hawaii has become the seventh US state to allow same-sex civil unions.
The state’s Democrat Governor, Neil Abercrombie, yesterday signed a bill which essentially grants the same rights as marriage to gay couples.
Abercrombie said: “This signing today of this measure says to all the world that they are welcome, that everyone is a brother or a sister in paradise”.
The law was approved by the Hawaii senate by a vote of 18-5.
A similar bill was passed in Hawaii last year, but was blocked by then- governor Linda Lingle, a Republican.
Abercrombie supported equal marriage rights for same-sex couples throughout his campaign last autumn.
National marriage project director of gay rights group Lambda Legal, Jennifer Pizer, said: “Today marks a big step towards full equality for lesbian and gay people in the Aloha state”.