Civil Unions Permitted in DE and HI
As of January 1 , 2012, same sex couples can legally enter into same-sex civil unions in Delaware and Hawaii and attain some of the same benefits enjoyed by married couples, such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital and make decisions about the partner's medical care and the right to joint bank accounts and property transfers.
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D), who signed the bill into law in February 2011, described the law as "a prime example of exercising civic courage. It is about doing what is right, no matter how difficult, no matter how much opposition."
Delaware Governor Jack Markell (D), who signed Delaware's bill into law in May, stated, "This bill is about a new energy and excitement. It's about a moment in our history that came about because people came together to work for it, because it became clear that Delaware's LGBT community is in fact part of every Delaware community. The greater good is served when we speak out and fight hard when we see that bias, prejudice or even outdated laws attempt to lessen any one of us."
Currently, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Hawaii recognize same-sex civil unions. Same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington DC.
Media Resources: CNN 1/1/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/30/11