Hawaii lawmakers Tuesday sent the governor a bill that would allow civil unions for same-sex couples.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office says he intends to sign the bill into law within 10 days. Civil unions would begin Jan. 1, 2012.
The Hawaii Senate voted 18-5 on Wednesday to give the bill final legislative approval following years of thousands-strong rallies, election battles and passionate public testimony on an issue that has divided the Rainbow State for nearly two decades. The measure passed the House on Friday.