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HONOLULU-Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano is expected to sign legislation passed last week giving a broad array of rights and benefits to gay couples and other domestic partners who cannot legally marry.
If signed, the legislation will allow such domestic partners to benefit from their partners' group health insurance, family leave provisions and retirement benefits. In all, about 60 new benefits, including workers compensation survivorship rights, would be extended.
To qualify for benefits under the measure, which would take effect July 1, Hawaii domestic partners would be required to pay $8 to register with the state as reciprocal beneficiaries.
The bill passed April 29 is seen as a compromise in the hopes of decreasing the impact of an awaited state Supreme Court ruling on a lawsuit in which a gay couple is seeking the right to marry.
A companion bill also passed that will allow voters in November to decide on a constitutional amendment giving lawmakers the right to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.
The governor has supported domestic partner rights and is expected to sign the legislation extending benefits, though it had not reached his desk last Friday, a spokeswoman said. The constitutional amendment does not require the governor's signature.