GAY RIGHTS

Hawaii Approves Same-Sex Unions

Hawaii took another step closer to legalizing same-sex civil unions, as the state senate approved giving gay and lesbian couples the same rights and privileges as traditional married couples. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has already promised to sign the bill into law. Meanwhile, the California Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to take on Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that made same-sex marriage illegal, in a case that would determine whether sponsors of such a measure can defend it in court when state officials have refused to do appeal. The court asked for written arguments between March 14 and May 9 and said it would hold a hearing as early as September, followed by a decision within 90 days. The decision will not address the validity of Prop 8—which the court ruled is in fact constitutional in May 2009—but it will determine if California can continue to enforce the measure.