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- See also: Recognition of same-sex unions in Hawaii
Since 1997, the state of Hawaii has offered reciprocal beneficiary registration for any adults who are prohibited by state law from marrying, including both same-sex and different-sex couples.
Reciprocal beneficiaries have access to a limited number of rights and benefits on the state level, including inheritance rights, workers compensation, the right to sue for wrongful death, health insurance and pension benefits for state employees, hospital visitation, and healthcare decisionmaking.
There are no state residency or U.S. citizenship requirements. The two individuals entering into a reciprocal beneficiary relationship must both be at least 18 years of age, and cannot be married or in another reciprocal beneficiary relationship.
Individuals prohibited by state law from marrying one another include, but are not limited to, relationships such as brother and sister of the half as well as to the whole blood, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, widowed mother and her unmarried son, and two persons of the same sex or gender.
Registration may be done only by mailing a notarized form to the state Department of Health in Honolulu, along with a fee (as of December 2006) of US$8.00. Termination of a reciprocal beneficiary relationship (which may be done by either party acting alone) is handled in the same way. The Department of Health, in turn, mails certificates of registration or termination to the two parties involved.
Hawaii's reciprocal beneficiary status is recognized by other jurisdictions as being notably weaker than other same-sex union laws. For example, British law does not recognize Hawaii Reciprocal Beneficiaries as equivalent to civil partnerships under the laws of the United Kingdom. Likewise, the American state of New Jersey recognizes reciprocal beneficiary status as equivalent only to domestic partnerships, not civil unions in New Jersey.
- Partners Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Couples "Reciprocal Beneficiaries: The Hawaiian Approach"
- Hawaii State Dept. of Health "About Reciprocal Beneficiary Relationships"
- Same-sex marriage in the United States
- Same-sex marriage legislation in the United States
- Same-sex marriage in the United States by state
- Same-sex marriage in the United States public opinion
- Same-sex marriage status in the United States by state
- List of benefits of marriage in the United States
- Defense of Marriage Act
- Marriage Protection Act
- Defense of marriage amendment
- Federal Marriage Amendment
- Domestic partnerships in the United States
- Freedom to Marry Coalition
- History of civil marriage in the U.S.