April 30, 2010 at 11:39 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Hawaii Legislature approves civil unions

The Hawaii Legislature on Thursday approved legislation to implement civil unions in the Aloha State, sending the measure to Gov. Linda Lingle (R) to await her signature.

The House voted 31-20 to pass the legislation, which had stalled for several months and was revived in the last day of the legislative session. The Senate approved its version of the bill in January.

Lingle has 45 days to sign the bill, veto it or allow it to take effect without her signature. According to the Washington Post, Lingle’s office has said the governor intends to “carefully review” the legislation.

In a statement, Jennifer Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, said the vote represents years of hard work from advocates and concerned lawmakers. She said Lambda was prepared to act with litigation if the Legislature didn’t approve the bill.

“In fact, we were already on O`ahu this week in final preparations for litigation if the legislature failed to act by today’s end of session,” Pizer said. “We’re delighted that, as long as Governor Lingle does not veto the bill, our lawsuit won’t be necessary.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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