Civil Unions and Gay Marriages in Hawaii

The Hawaii Legislature legalized civil unions in February 2011 and the bill was signed into effect on February 23. Same-sex and opposite-sex couples (gay marriage in Hawaii) are now eligible for civil union status as of January 1, 2012, according to Senate Bill 232 (Act 1). Same-sex couples have the same legal rights as married couples. Voters in Hawaii enacted a constitutional amendment in 1998 allowing lawmakers to define marriage as involving only a man and a woman. Civil unions are legal partnerships that can be performed or recognized by any religious organization or authority figure. They are permissible for both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.

Requirements for a civil union

There are no restrictions for citizenship or state residency.

Both males and females must be at least 18 years old to enter a civil union.

The new law establishes that, as of January 1, 2012, all relationships between two people that are not recognized as marriages under Hawaii’s marriage law will be recognized as civil unions as long as they meet the eligibility requirements of Hawaii’s civil unions chapter, have been established in accordance with the laws of that jurisdiction, and can be proven.

People who are already in a domestic partnership or civil union in another jurisdiction who wish to enter a civil union in Hawaii must first dissolve their existing arrangement (either with the person they are already married to in the other jurisdiction or during a ceremony officiated by a Hawaii civil union performer).

If the divorce or death was final within 30 days of requesting a civil union license, the applicant, if previously married, must provide proof of termination of that marriage to the civil union agent. A certified original divorce decree or a certified death certificate serve as evidence. At the DOH’s discretion, more trustworthy evidence of termination may be considered.

The following relationships are prohibited from occurring and are void: parent and child, grandparent and grandchild, two siblings, aunt and nephew, aunt and niece, uncle and nephew, uncle and niece, and those who are any degree of ancestor and descendant of one another.

Steps for getting a civil union

You must first submit a civil union license application. The license authorizes the civil union.

In order to acquire your license, you and your partner must both attend in person before a civil union agent.

Third, a licensed civil union performer or officiant must conduct your legal civil union after you get your civil union license.

Civil union license process

A civil union application must be submitted first. Online applicants can complete and print the application. The application for a civil license is available in PDF format (see the link below).

There is a $60.00 civil union licensing charge (plus a $5.00 portal administration fee). When submitting the application to a civil union license agent, you have the option of paying the cost in person or online.

To file their official civil union application for a civil union license, both would-be partners must show up in person before a civil union agent. Proxies are prohibited.

Applications made via postal mail or email will not be accepted.

Only an agent in the county where the civil union will be celebrated or in which one of the potential partners resides will provide the prospective partners a license for a civil union.

The potential partners should be ready to produce any relevant written consents and approvals, as well as the requisite identification and age verification, to the civil union agent. Prior to submitting an application for a civil union license and going before an agent, all required paperwork must be acquired. You may show a valid driver’s license or photo ID with a government-issued photo.

An application will result in the issuance of a civil union license once it has been approved.

Only the State of Hawaii is eligible to use the civil union license.

The civil union license is valid for 30 days beginning on the day it was issued before it automatically expires and becomes void.

Registering the civil union with the department of health

On January 1, 2012, the Civil Union Law went into effect. The DOH will register civil union ceremonies performed by an authorized officiant on or after January 1, 2012.

Your civil union agent will give you all the information you might need to finish the procedure for officially recognizing your civil union in Hawaii when you submit your application for your civil union license.

Your ceremony can happen within 30 days of receiving your civil union license, as long as it’s done before it expires. A DOH-licensed civil union officiant is required to officiate your ceremony.

The civil union officiant will submit an online record of the ceremony to the DOH on or after January 1, 2012, and when the DOH evaluates and approves the data, your civil union will be registered.

You will have access to a temporary online certificate of civil union for a set amount of time when the officiant enters the ceremony information into the system and it has been reviewed and approved by DOH.

You can request and get a certified copy of your certificate from the DOH by paying applicable fees when your online certificate is no longer accessible.