The Mating Grounds

Civil Union vs Marriage: What You Need to Know Before Saying ‘I Do’ in Hawaii

Civil Union vs Marriage: A Guide to Understanding Hawaii’s Laws

Hey there! If you’re reading this article, you’re probably curious about the differences between civil unions and marriage in Hawaii. Maybe you’re considering entering into a legal partnership with your loved one, or perhaps you’re just interested in the legal and socio-political issues surrounding these two types of unions.

Whatever your motivation, we’re here to break it all down for you in a clear, concise manner. So grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

Civil Union Law in Hawaii

Approval and Implementation

In 2011, the Hawaii Legislature passed a bill allowing for civil union recognition for same-sex couples. Governor Neil Abercrombie immediately signed the bill into law, with the law taking effect in January of 2012.

The law provides legal recognition and protections for same-sex couples, granting them many of the same rights and benefits as married couples.

Rights and Requirements

So, what exactly is a civil union? Essentially, it’s a legal partnership between two people that grants them many of the same rights and benefits as married couples.

This includes the ability to file joint tax returns, make medical decisions for each other, and inherit property from one another. However, unlike marriage, civil unions are only recognized at the state level and do not provide federal benefits.

To obtain a civil union in Hawaii, you must meet several requirements. First and foremost, you must be at least 18 years of age and not be related by blood.

You must also be a resident of Hawaii or provide proof of citizenship. If you are not a resident, you must be able to provide proof of a legal relationship in another state or country.

Recognition of out-of-state unions is allowed. Hawaii also prohibits civil unions between close blood relatives and between persons of the same sex or gender who are of the age of 15 or younger, even if the parties are within the allowable degree of consanguinity.

Steps for Obtaining a Civil Union

Obtaining a civil union in Hawaii is a straightforward process. First, you must fill out an application and obtain a license from the Department of Health.

You can obtain the application online, at a Department of Health office, or from a licensed civil union agent. The license fee is $60.

Once you have the license, you must find a licensed civil union performer or officiant to perform the ceremony. This can be a religious or secular officiant, as long as they are licensed by the state of Hawaii.

The civil union must be performed within 30 days of obtaining the license.

Registering the Civil Union with the Department of Health

After the ceremony, your civil union performer or officiant will file the necessary paperwork with the Department of Health to register the civil union. The department will then record the ceremony information and issue a temporary online certificate.

To obtain a certified copy of your civil union certificate, you must submit an application to the Department of Health, along with the appropriate fee. The certified copy can be used to prove your legal partnership for a number of purposes, including changing your name or filing for a joint tax return.

Comparison between Civil Union and Marriage

Legal Differences

So, what sets civil unions apart from marriage? The main difference lies in the definition of marriage itself.

In Hawaii, marriage is defined as a “union between two individuals of opposite sex.” This means that same-sex couples cannot legally get married in Hawaii, although they can enter into a civil union, which grants many of the same rights and benefits. Married couples are also granted certain federal benefits, such as social security benefits and joint tax filing.

These benefits are not extended to civil unions at this time. However, in June of 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages that are legally performed in states that allow them.

This means that same-sex couples who are married in a state where marriage is legal can now receive federal benefits. Religious institutions’ role in marriage is also different from civil unions.

Marriage is often seen as a religious institution, with many faiths placing a strong emphasis on its sanctity. Civil unions, on the other hand, are purely a legal partnership, with no religious implications or requirement.

Socio-Political Issues

The issue of same-sex marriage and civil unions has been a hotly debated topic in Hawaii and across the country. Many people feel that same-sex couples should have the right to marry, while others argue that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

In 1998, Hawaii became the first state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. However, in 2013, the state legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making Hawaii the 15th state to do so.

The law took effect on December 2, 2013. Despite the progress that has been made, there are still legal challenges surrounding marriage and civil unions.

Some states have passed laws prohibiting same-sex marriage, while others are fighting to have it legalized. The legality of civil unions is also being challenged, with some arguing that they are not enough to provide the same rights and benefits as marriage.

In conclusion, the issue of civil unions versus marriage is a complex one, with many legal and socio-political issues at play. While civil unions provide legal recognition and protections for same-sex couples, they do not provide the same federal benefits as marriage.

Ultimately, the decision of which type of union to enter into is a personal one, and should be based on factors such as personal beliefs, legal requirements, and desired rights and benefits. Whatever your decision may be, we hope that this article has provided you with a clear understanding of the differences between these two types of unions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Civil Unions in Hawaii

If you’re considering a civil union in Hawaii, you likely have a lot of questions about the process. Here are some frequently asked questions to help guide you through the eligibility requirements, application process, ceremony, and registration with the Department of Health.

Eligibility and Requirements

Who can enter into a civil union in Hawaii? Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are eligible to enter into a civil union in Hawaii, as long as they meet the necessary requirements.

What are the residency and citizenship requirements? To enter into a civil union in Hawaii, at least one of the parties must be a resident of Hawaii or provide proof of citizenship.

If you are not a resident, you must be able to provide proof of a legal relationship in another state or country. What is the minimum age required to enter into a civil union in Hawaii?

Both parties must be at least 18 years of age to enter into a civil union in Hawaii. Are there any restrictions on who can enter into a civil union?

Hawaii prohibits civil unions between close blood relatives and between persons of the same sex or gender who are of the age of 15 or younger, even if the parties are within the allowable degree of consanguinity. You must also provide proof of termination of any previous marriages or civil unions.

License Application

What is the application process for obtaining a civil union license in Hawaii? To obtain a civil union license in Hawaii, both parties must appear in person at a Department of Health office and fill out an application.

The license fee is $60. Can the application be submitted by proxy?

No, both parties must appear in person to apply for a civil union license in Hawaii. Do different counties have different licensing requirements?

No, the licensing requirements are the same throughout the state of Hawaii. What documents are required to apply for a civil union license in Hawaii?

You must provide proof of identity and age, such as a government-issued ID. You must also provide proof of termination of any previous marriages or civil unions.

Civil Union Ceremony

Who can perform a civil union ceremony in Hawaii? A licensed civil union performer or officiant can perform a civil union ceremony in Hawaii.

Where can a civil union ceremony take place? A civil union ceremony can take place anywhere in Hawaii, as long as it is in compliance with state laws regarding public spaces and permits.

Are witnesses required for a civil union ceremony? No, witnesses are not required for a civil union ceremony in Hawaii.

What can be included in a civil union ceremony? You may choose to include personal touches such as music, readings, or other symbolic elements in your civil union ceremony.

Is there a time limit for a civil union ceremony? No, there is no specific time limit for a civil union ceremony in Hawaii.

Registration with the Department of Health

What is the process for registering a civil union with the Department of Health? After the ceremony, your licensed civil union performer or officiant will file the necessary paperwork with the Department of Health to register the civil union.

The department will then record the ceremony information and issue a temporary online certificate. How do I obtain a certified copy of my civil union certificate?

To obtain a certified copy of your civil union certificate, you must submit an application to the Department of Health, along with the appropriate fee. The certified copy can be used to prove your legal partnership for a number of purposes, including changing your name or filing for a joint tax return.

Conclusion

We hope that these frequently asked questions have helped to clarify any uncertainty or confusion you may have had about the civil union process in Hawaii. Remember, the requirements and procedures for entering into a civil union can vary depending on your personal circumstances, so be sure to consult with the Department of Health or a licensed civil union performer if you have any further questions or concerns.

In conclusion, the issue of civil unions versus marriage in Hawaii is a complex one, with many legal and socio-political factors at play. Civil unions provide legal recognition and necessary protections for same-sex couples, although they do not provide the same federal benefits as marriage.

Understanding the differences between civil unions and marriage, as well as the eligibility requirements, application process, and registration procedures, is essential when considering a civil union in Hawaii. Whether you are a same-sex or opposite-sex couple, knowing your rights and the legal implications of entering into a civil union is critical.

By following the guidelines and seeking legal advice if needed, you can ensure a smooth and successful civil union process in Hawaii.

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