HONOLULU – The online process for applying for a civil union in Hawaii became active on New Year’s Day.
The law allowing same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil union with the same state rights and responsibilities as traditional marriage goes into effect Sunday.
Couples will be able to submit application, pay fees and receive civil union certificates online.
The state Department of Health’s newly created website to apply for a civil union is https://civilunion.ehawaii.gov .
Applications for marriage can also be made online at https://marriage.ehawaii.gov .
Four couples gathered at an East Oahu home became the first in the state to enter into civil unions just after the stroke of midnight.
In related news, A federal judge denied a request from two churches for a restraining order that would prevent Hawaii’s civil union law from going into effect this weekend.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright denied the request Friday afternoon.
Two Waipahu churches sued to block the state law.
Emmanuel Temple and Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God argued the law violates their civil rights and constitutional protections for religious freedom.
The churches say the law does not allow them to refuse to rent their facilities for same-sex ceremonies.
Seabright’s 17-page opinion said the churches didn’t show they’re entitled to the restraining order.