Domestic Partnerships

Establishes domestic partnerships law.  Allows 2 persons who live
together, consider themselves to be members of each other's
immediate family, agree to be jointly responsible for each
other's basic living expenses, not married, not related by blood,
and at least 18 years of age to file a declaration of domestic
partnership with the director of health.  Extends same rights and
obligations as spouses in a marriage relationship to domestic
partners.  Prohibits discrimination because of domestic
partnership status. Repeals Reciprocal Beneficiaries law.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  Domestic partners live together in the context
 2 of a committed family relationship.  However, they do not enjoy
 3 public and private sector rights and benefits that are comparable
 4 to those in comparable relationships.
 5      The legislature finds that domestic partners comprise a
 6 significant percentage of households within this jurisdiction.
 7 The legislature further finds as a matter of public policy that
 8 society should accord to such partners rights and benefits that
 9 are comparable to those in comparable relationships.
10      The purpose of this Act is to recognize the right of certain
11 such people to identify the partners with whom they share their
12 lives as members of each other's immediate family and to accord
13 them such rights and benefits.
14      SECTION 2.  The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding
15 a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as
16 follows:
17                             "CHAPTER
18                       DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS
19       -1 Definitions.  For the purposes of this chapter:
20      "Basic living expenses" means basic food and shelter.  It

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 1 includes any other cost, such as medical care, if some or all of
 2 the cost is paid as a benefit to one or both partners because
 3 they have registered as domestic partners under this chapter.
 4      "Declaration of domestic partnership" means a statement in a
 5 form issued by the director of health that declares the intent of
 6 two people to enter into a valid domestic partnership contract.
 7 By signing it, two people swear under penalty of perjury that
 8 they meet the requirements for a valid domestic partnership
 9 contract.
10      "Director" means the director of health.
11      "Domestic partners" means two adults who are parties to a
12 valid domestic partnership contract and continue to meet the
13 requisites for a valid domestic partnership contract set out in
14 in section    -2.
15      "Joint responsibility" means that each partner agrees to
16 provide for the other's basic living expenses while the domestic
17 partnership is in effect if the other is unable to provide for
18 himself or herself.  It does not mean that the partners need to
19 contribute equally or jointly to basic living expenses.  Anyone
20 to whom these expenses are owed can enforce the responsibility
21 established by this chapter.
22      "Live together" means that two people share the same place
23 to live.  It is not necessary that the legal right to possess the

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 1 place be in both of their names.  Two people may live together
 2 even if one or both have additional places to live.  Domestic
 3 partners do not cease to live together if one leaves the shared
 4 place but intends to return.
 5       -2 Requisites of a valid domestic partnership contract.
 6 To make a valid domestic partnership contract, it shall be
 7 necessary that the parties:
 8      (1)  Live together;
 9      (2)  Consider themselves to be members of each other's
10           immediate family;
11      (3)  Agree to be jointly responsible for each other's basic
12           living expenses;
13      (4)  Neither be married nor a member of another domestic
14           partnership;
15      (5)  Not be related by blood in a way that would prevent
16           them from being married to each other under chapter
17           572;
18      (6)  Each be at least eighteen years old;
19      (7)  Each be competent to enter into a contract; and
20      (8)  Each sign a declaration of domestic partnership as
21           provided for in section    -3.
22       -3 Establishing a domestic partnership.  Two persons,
23 who meet the criteria set out in section    -2, may establish a

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 1 domestic partnership by presenting a signed, notarized
 2 declaration of domestic partnership to the director, who shall
 3 file it and give the partners a certificate of domestic
 4 partnership showing that the declaration was filed in the names
 5 of the parties who shall be known as "domestic partners".
 6         -4  Rights and obligations.  Upon the issuance of a
 7 certificate of domestic partnership by the director, the parties
 8 named in the certificate shall have the same rights and
 9 obligations under the law that are conferred on spouses in a
10 marriage relationship under chapter 572.  A "domestic partner"
11 shall be included in any definition or use of the terms "spouse",
12 "family", "immediate family", or "dependent" as those terms are
13 used throughout the law.
14         -5 Dissolution of domestic partnerships.  The family
15 court shall have jurisdiction over the dissolution of domestic
16 partnerships.  The dissolution of domestic partnerships shall
17 follow the same procedures and be subject to the same substantive
18 rights and obligations that are involved in the dissolution of
19 marriage under chapter 572.
20         -6  Records and fees.  The director shall keep a record
21 of all declarations.   The director shall set the amount of the
22 filing fee for declarations, but in no case shall the fee be
23 higher than the fee for a marriage license.  The fees charged

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 1 shall cover the State's costs of administering this section.
 2       -7  Preemption.  This chapter shall supersede any state
 3 law or political subdivision ordinance to the contrary.
 4       -8  Private solemnization not required.  Nothing in this
 5 chapter shall be construed to require any religious organization
 6 to solemnize a domestic partnership that does not recognize a
 7 domestic partner relationship within their ideology; provided
 8 that no rights and obligations of domestic partners are
 9 obstructed or violated."
10      SECTION 3.  Section 368-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
11 amended to read as follows:
12      "368-1 Purpose and intent.  The legislature finds and
13 declares that the practice of discrimination because of race,
14 color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status,
15 domestic partnership, national origin, ancestry, or disability in
16 employment, housing, public accommodations, or access to services
17 receiving state financial assistance is against public policy.
18 It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a mechanism which
19 provides for a uniform procedure for the enforcement of the
20 State's discrimination laws.  It is the legislature's intent to
21 preserve all existing rights and remedies under such laws."
22      SECTION 4. Section 572-1, Hawaii Revised Statues, is amended
23 to read as follows:

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 1      "572-1 Requisites of valid marriage contract.  In order to
 2 make valid the marriage contract, which shall be only between a
 3 man and a woman, it shall be necessary that:
 4      (1)  The respective parties do not stand in relation to each
 5           other of ancestor and descendant of any degree
 6           whatsoever, brother and sister of the half as well as
 7           to the whole blood, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew,
 8           whether the relationship is the result of the issue of
 9           parents married or not married to each other;
10      (2)  Each of the parties at the time of contracting the
11           marriage is at least sixteen years of age; provided
12           that with the written approval of the family court of
13           the circuit within which the minor resides, it shall be
14           lawful for a person under the age of sixteen years, but
15           in no event under the age of fifteen years, to marry,
16           subject to section 572-2;
17      (3)  The man does not at the time have any lawful wife or
18           domestic partner living and that the woman does not at
19           the time have any lawful husband or domestic partner
20           living;
21      (4)  Consent of neither party to the marriage has been
22           obtained by force, duress, or fraud;
23      (5)  Neither of the parties is a person afflicted with any

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 1           loathsome disease concealed from, and unknown to, the
 2           other party;
 3      (6)  The man and woman to be married in the State shall have
 4           duly obtained a license for that purpose from the agent
 5           appointed to grant marriage licenses; and
 6      (7)  The marriage ceremony be performed in the State by a
 7           person or society with a valid license to solemnize
 8           marriages and the man and the woman to be married and
 9           the person performing the marriage ceremony be all
10           physically present at the same place and time for the
11           marriage ceremony."
12      SECTION 5.  Act 383, Session Laws of Hawaii 1997, is
13 repealed.
14      SECTION 6.   If any provision of this Act, or the
15 application thereof to any person or circumstance is held
16 invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or
17 applications of the Act which can be given effect without the
18 invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions
19 of this Act are severable.
20      SECTION 7.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
21 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
22 begun, before its effective date.
23      SECTION 8.  New statutory material is underscored.

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 1      SECTION 9.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 3                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________