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Hawaii Senate passes gay marriage bill

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii state Senate has passed a bill legalizing gay marriage, putting the islands a signature away from becoming a same-sex wedding destination.

Legislators passed the bill Tuesday during a special session, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he will sign it.

The measure will allow thousands of gay couples living in Hawaii and even more tourists to marry in the state starting Dec. 2.

An estimate from a University of Hawaii researcher says the law will boost tourism by $217 million over the next three years.

Senators passed the bill 19-4 with two lawmakers excused. The chamber took up the bill a second time because of changes made in the House, where the bill was amended and eventually passed.

 
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