HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed same-sex civil unions into law Wednesday, calling it "a triumph for everyone" that gay and lesbian couples will have the same state rights as married partners.
Civil unions in the Rainbow State would start Jan. 1, 2012, making Hawaii the seventh state to permit civil unions or similar legal recognitions for gay couples. Five other states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.
"This bill represents equal rights for everyone in Hawaii, everyone who comes here. This is to me the essence of the aloha spirit," Abercrombie said at a signing ceremony. "With its signing, I want to say 'welcome' to the world, come to paradise."
Kidney transplant on hold for freed sisters
PENSACOLA, Fla. —A proposed kidney transplant that won two Mississippi sisters their freedom from prison can't take place until one quits smoking and they lose a combined 160 pounds.
Jamie and Gladys Scott had served nearly 16 years of their life sentences for an armed robbery when they were released from a sprawling prison in central Mississippi on Jan. 7. Gov. Haley Barbour granted Jamie Scott an early release because she suffers from kidney failure, but he agreed to let Gladys Scott go on the condition she follow through on an offer to donate a kidney to her sister.
Jamie Scott told the Associated Press on Wednesday that she needs to lose more than 100 pounds and that her sister has to shed 60 pounds before their doctors will even test them for compatibility. Doctors are also requiring Gladys Scott, a heavy smoker, to quit.
A personal trainer works twice a week with the sisters. They've also been taking aerobics classes.