headlines-marriage-equality-hawaii-state-flagUnlike the rest of the nation, voters in Hawaii elected to retain Democratic majorities in both the state House and Senate on Nov. 2. The people of Hawaii also elected a pro-gay marriage gubernatorial candidate, which could pave the way for offering legally recognized same-sex civil unions as early as next year, according to the Associated Press.

Last year, Hawaii’s legislature passed a civil unions bill guaranteeing gay couples the same state-level marriage benefits as heterosexual couples only to have it vetoed by Republican Governor Linda Lingle. Democratic Governor-elect Neil Abercrombie has stated that he will sign a law supporting same-sex civil unions if the legislature passes such a measure in 2011.

Ensuring full marriage equality will require more work in the Aloha State, however. Hawaii’s Constitutional Amendment 2 of 1998 gave the state legislature the power to ban same-sex marriage. The legislature subsequently passed a law that restricts marriage in Hawaii to opposite-sex couples.