Report Title:

Civil Unions; Established


Establishes civil unions. Allows two persons who live together, consider themselves to be members of each other's immediate family, agree to be jointly responsible for each other's basic living expenses, not married, not related by blood, and at least eighteen years of age, to file a declaration of civil union with the director of health. Extends same rights and obligations as spouses in a marital relationship to civil union partners. Prohibits discrimination because of civil union partnership status. Repeals reciprocal beneficiary law.


H.B. NO.









RElating to civil union.



SECTION 1. Unmarried partners live together in the context of a committed family relationship. However, they do not enjoy public and private sector rights and benefits that are comparable to those in comparable relationships.

The legislature finds that unmarried partners comprise a significant percentage of households within this jurisdiction. The legislature further finds that as a matter of public policy, society should accord to such partners, rights and benefits that are comparable to those in comparable relationships.

The purpose of this Act is to recognize the right of certain such people to identify the partners with whom they share their lives as members of each other's immediate family and to accord them such rights and benefits.

SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:



-1 Definitions. As used in this chapter unless the context otherwise requires:

"Basic living expenses" means basic food and shelter. It includes any other cost, such as medical care, if some or all of the cost is paid as a benefit to one or both partners because they have registered as civil union partners under this chapter.

"Civil union partners" means two adults who are parties to a valid civil union contract and continue to meet the requisites for a valid civil union contract set out in section -2.

"Declaration of civil union" means a statement in a form issued by the director of health that declares the intent of two people to enter into a valid civil union contract. By signing it, two people swear under penalty of perjury that they meet the requirements for a valid civil union contract.

"Director" means the director of health.

"Joint responsibility" means that each partner agrees to provide for the other's basic living expenses while the civil union is in effect, if the other is unable to provide for himself or herself. It does not mean that the partners need to contribute equally or jointly to basic living expenses. Anyone to whom these expenses are owed can enforce the responsibility established by this chapter.

"Live together" means that two people share the same place to live. It is not necessary that the legal right to possess the place be in both of their names. Two people may live together even if one or both have additional places to live. Civil union partners do not cease to live together if one leaves the shared place but intends to return.

-2 Requisites of a valid civil union partnership contract. To make a valid civil union partnership contract, it shall be necessary that the parties:

(1) Live together;

(2) Consider themselves to be members of each other's immediate family;

(3) Agree to be jointly responsible for each other's basic living expenses;

(4) Neither be married nor a member of another civil union;

(5) Not be related by blood in a way that would prevent them from being married to each other under chapter 572;

(6) Each be at least eighteen years old;

(7) Each be competent to enter into a contract; and

(8) Each sign a declaration of civil union as provided for in section    -3.

-3 Establishing a civil union. Two persons who meet the criteria set out in section -2, may establish a civil union by presenting a signed, notarized declaration of civil union to the director, who shall file the declaration and give the partners a certificate of civil union showing that the declaration was filed in the names of the parties who shall be known as "civil union partners".

-4 Rights and obligations. Upon the issuance of a certificate of civil union by the director, the parties named in the certificate shall have the same rights and obligations under the law that are conferred on spouses in a marriage relationship under chapter 572. A "civil union partner" shall be included in any definition or use of the terms "spouse", "family", "immediate family", or "dependent" as those terms are used throughout the law.

-5 Dissolution of civil unions. The family court shall have jurisdiction over the dissolution of civil unions. The dissolution of civil unions shall follow the same procedures and be subject to the same substantive rights and obligations that are involved in the dissolution of marriage under chapter 572.

-6 Records and fees. The director shall keep a record of all declarations. The director shall set the amount of the filing fee for declarations, but in no case shall the fee be higher than the fee for a marriage license. The fees charged shall cover the State's costs of administering this section.

-7 Preemption. This chapter shall supersede any state law or political subdivision ordinance to the contrary.

-8 Private solemnization not required. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any religious organization to solemnize a domestic partnership that does not recognize a civil union relationship within their ideology; provided that no rights and obligations of civil union partners are obstructed or violated.

-9 Recognition of similar contracts. The State shall recognize other substantially similar contractual relationships outside of its jurisdiction."

SECTION 3. Section 368-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"368-1 Purpose and intent. The legislature finds and declares that the practice of discrimination because of race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, civil union status, national origin, ancestry, or disability in employment, housing, public accommodations, or access to services receiving state financial assistance is against public policy. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a mechanism [which] that provides for a uniform procedure for the enforcement of the State's discrimination laws. It is the legislature's intent to preserve all existing rights and remedies under such laws."

SECTION 4. Section 572-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"572-1 Requisites of valid marriage contract. In order to make valid the marriage contract, which shall be only between a man and a woman, it shall be necessary that:

(1) The respective parties do not stand in relation to each other of ancestor and descendant of any degree whatsoever, brother and sister of the half as well as to the whole blood, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, whether the relationship is the result of the issue of parents married or not married to each other;

(2) Each of the parties at the time of contracting the marriage is at least sixteen years of age; provided that with the written approval of the family court of the circuit within which the minor resides, it shall be lawful for a person under the age of sixteen years, but in no event under the age of fifteen years, to marry, subject to section 572-2;

(3) The man does not at the time have any lawful wife or civil union partner living and that the woman does not at the time have any lawful husband or civil union partner living;

(4) Consent of neither party to the marriage has been obtained by force, duress, or fraud;

(5) Neither of the parties is a person afflicted with any loathsome disease concealed from, and unknown to, the other party;

(6) The man and woman to be married in the State shall have duly obtained a license for that purpose from the agent appointed to grant marriage licenses; and

(7) The marriage ceremony be performed in the State by a person or society with a valid license to solemnize marriages and the man and the woman to be married and the person performing the marriage ceremony be all physically present at the same place and time for the marriage ceremony."

SECTION 5. If any of the following provisions of Act 383, Session Laws of Hawaii 1997, or any amendments made thereto in subsequent acts are inconsistent or in conflict with amendments made by this Act, the provisions of this Act shall prevail: chapter 323, 431-10A, 431:10A-104(a), 431:10A-115(a), 431:10A-206, 431L-3(c), 431L-4, 509-2, 560:2-201, 560:2-202, 560:2-208(a), 560:2-209(a) and (b), 560:2-301, 560:2-711, 560:2-802, 560:2-804, 560:1-201, 560:2-102, 560:2-103, 560:2-114, 560:2-203, 560:2-205, 560:2-206, 560:2-207, 560:2-210, 560:2-211, 560:2-212, 560:2-213, 560:2-214, 560:2-402, 560:2-403, 560:2-404, 560:2-405, 560:2-705, 560:2-803, 560:3-203, 560:3-301, 560:3-302, 560:3-403, 560:3-703, 560:3-713, 560:3-901, 560:3-902, 560:3-906, 560:3-915, 560:3-916, 560:3-1212, 560:5-301, 560:5-309, 560:5-311, 560:5-312, 560:5-408, 560:5-410, 560:5-422, 560:5-601, 560:6-107, 663-3, 79-7, 79-13, 83-8, 87-23.5(a) and (b), 88-1, 88-4, 88-5, 88-84(b), 88-85, 88-93, 88-163, 88-189, 88-286, 105-2, 171-74, 171-99(e), 209-28(b), 209-29, 247-3, 306-1, 324-22(c), 327-3(a), 327-5(b), 334-6, 334-59(d), 334-60.4(a), 334-60.5(a), 334-125(a), 351-2, 352-13, 353-17(a), 386-34, 386-41(a) and (b), 386-42(a), 386-43(a) and (b), 388-4, 398-3(a), 431:10-234, 431:10C-103, 432:1-104, 443B-1, 453-15, 516-71(a), 586-1, 663-1, 706-670.5(1), 706-673(1), 707-769(2), 708-834(2), 709-906(1), and 801D-2.

SECTION 6. The legislative reference bureau shall review all provisions of this Act and those of Act 383, Session Laws of Hawaii 1997, and any amendments made thereto in subsequent acts, and prepare proposed legislation for introduction during the 2004 regular session to amend or repeal all provisions inconsistent or in conflict with this Act.

SECTION 7. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

SECTION 8. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

SECTION 9. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 10. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.