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Hawaii is officially saying "aloha" to same-sex marriages! Just after midnight early Monday morning, six gay couples were the first to take vows under the new law allowing their marriages, which had just gone into effect. Gay marriage was legalized in Hawaii in November, making the state the 15th to do so in the United States.
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The entire state immediately got in on the action. The Sheraton Waikiki resort hosted mass wedding ceremonies for any willing couples, while a group of clergy who pushed for the new law planned to host a wedding for an openly gay Unitarian minister at a church near downtown Honolulu. Either location would be a great option for a destination wedding perfectly timed with the new law!
According to the Associated Press, the law in Hawaii lets both gay and straight couples obtain a marriage license and marry in the same day, which makes it an ideal place for those who want to tie the knot. Researcher Summer Lacroix said, "Same sex couples will be attracted to Hawaii for the same reasons that opposite sex couples are attracted to Hawaii"—the weather, the beaches and "the aloha spirit." Those are pretty much all of the reasons it remains one of the world's top honeymoon destinations, as well.
Lacroix added that the legalized weddings will boost tourism revenue for Hawaii to $217 million in the next three years. The state is making it easy for couples to say "I do" in paradise, too: Couples can sign up for a license in person or online, then be verified by any license agent throughout the state.
Hawaii is often credited with starting the national gay marriage discussion, when couples applying for a marriage license led to a court fight the eventually helped prompt Congress to pass the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. Part of the law was struck down earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We're so excited to hear the news and even more excited to see pictures of all of the happy unions that come out of it.