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What Rights Come with Legal Marriage?
— Hawaii —
© 2003, Demian

This is a partial list of the legal marriage laws in the State of Hawaii. These 62 rights and responsibilities — out of some 160 laws that are triggered by legal marriage — show the variety of societal and business interactions built into legal marriage. This list provides a glimpse of what is at stake by the denial of access to legal marriage.

While all states generally cover similar legal areas, there are state-by-state differences. Besides the state laws, the U.S. Federal system also has more than 1,138 laws which are triggered by legal marriage. [See U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married.]

Almost all states offer some form of the following marital rights:

  • to not be forced to testify in court against each other;
  • ability to make medical decisions on each other’s behalf;
  • to seek wrongful death compensation;
  • access to a decedent’s estate in the absence of a will;
  • to maintain life and disability insurance on a spouse;
  • eligibility for worker’s compensation death benefits; and
  • to automatically hold property as tenants in common.

The following are specific law references derived from a brief filed in the case of Baehr v. Lewin (which became Baehr v. Miike and later Baehr v. Anderson), which sued the state of Hawaii to allow same-sex marriage in 1991. The suit won a ruling that same-sex marriage would be required under the state constitution in December 1996 [See Hawaii Court Finding]. However, the case was finally lost in a final ruling in December, 1999. [See Legal Marriage Court Cases — A Timeline.]

  1. accidental death benefit for surviving spouse for government employee, H.R.S [Section] 88-85;
  2. airport relocation assistance for displaced persons, H.R.S [Section] 261-31 (definition of “family”);
  3. appointment as guardian of minor, H.R.S [Section] 551-2;
  4. assistance to displaced persons, H.R.S [Section] 111-2;
  5. award of child custody in divorce proceedings, H.R.S [Sections] 571-46, 571-46.1;
  6. beneficial owner status of corporate securities, H.R.S [Section] 417E-1;
  7. bill of rights for victims and witnesses, H.R.S [Sections] 801D-2 (definition of “surviving immediate family members”), 801D-4
  8. burial of servicemen’s dependents, H.R.S [Sections] 363-5(3)(4), 363-7;
  9. consent to a postmortem examination, H.R.S [Section] 453-15;
  10. continuation of rights under existing homestead leases, certificates of occupation, rights to purchase leases and cash free hold agreements concerning the management and disposition of public land, H.R.S [Section] 171-99;
  11. control, division, acquisition, and disposition of community property, H.R.S [Sections] 510-5, 510-6, 510-9, 510-10, 510-22, 510-23;
  12. criminal injuries compensation, H.R.S [Section] 351-2 (definition of “relative”);
  13. death benefit for surviving spouse of government employee, H.R.S [Section] 88-286;
  14. disclosure of vital statistics records, H.R.S [Section] 338-18;
  15. division of property after dissolution of marriage, H.R.S [Section] 580-56;
  16. eligibility for housing opportunity allowance program of the Housing Finance and Development Corporation, H.R.S [Section] 201E-145;
  17. exemption from claims of Department of Human Services for social services payments, financial assistance, or burial payments, H.R.S [Section] 346-37;
  18. exemption from conveyance tax, H.R.S [Section] 247-3(4);
  19. exemption from real property lien of Department of Human Services of allowance to surviving spouse, H.R.S [Section] 346-29.5(c);
  20. exemption from regulations of condominium sales to owner-occupants, H.R.S [Section] 514A-108;
  21. funeral leave for government employees, H.R.S [Section] 79-13;
  22. homes of totally disabled veterans exempt from property taxes, H.R.S [Section] 246-29;
  23. income tax deductions, credits, rates, exemptions, and estimates, H.R.S [Sections] 235-1, 235-2.4(a), 235-4, 235-7, 235-7.5, 235-51, 235-52, 235-54, 235-55.6, 235-61, 235-93, 235-97;
  24. inheritance of land patent, H.R.S [Section] 172-11;
  25. insurance licenses, coverage, eligibility, and benefits, H.R.S [Sections] 431:9-233, 431:10-206, 431:10-232, 431:10-234, 431:10A-103, 431:10A-116.5, 431:10A-401, 431:10A-403, 431:10C-103, 431:10C-304, 431:10D-104, 431:10D-114, 431:10D-201, 431:10D-203, 431-10D-212, 431:10D-308, 431N-1;
  26. lease of agricultural parks, H.R.S [Section] 166-6(2);
  27. legal status and the rights, privileges, duties, and obligations of a child, H.R.S [Sections] 338-1, 338-21;
  28. lower hunting license fee, H.R.S [Section] 183D-22(1);
  29. making, revoking, and objecting to anatomical gifts, H.R.S [Section] 327-3(a)(1);
  30. non-resident tuition deferential waiver, H.R.S [Section] 304-4(b);
  31. notice of guardian ad litem proceedings, H.R.S [Section] 346-237(3);
  32. notice to probate proceeding , rights by way of dower or curtesy, right to inherit property, H.R.S [Sections] 533-1, 533-3, 533-4, 533-6, 533-7, 533-8, 533-16;
  33. organization of mutual benefits society, H.R.S [Section] 432:1-104(2)(a)(i);
  34. payment of wages to relative of deceased employee, H.R.S [Section] 388-4;
  35. payment of worker’s compensation benefits after death, H.R.S [Sections] 386-34, 386-41, 386-42, 386-43;
  36. permission to make arrangements for the burial or cremation, H.R.S [Section] 346-15(d);
  37. public assistance from the Department of Human Services, H.R.S [Section] 346-29;
  38. proof of business partnership, H.R.S [Section] 425-4;
  39. qualification as facility for the elderly, H.R.S [Section] 524-1 (definition of “facility”);
  40. real property exempt from attachment or execution, H.R.S [Sections] 651-91(1), 651-92(a)(1), 651-121(1);
  41. right to be notified of parole or escape of inmate, H.R.S [Sections] 706-670.5, 706-673;
  42. right to change name, H.R.S [Section] 574-5(a)(3);
  43. right to enter into premarital agreement, H.R.S [Section] 572D-1;
  44. right to file action for nonsupport, H.R.S [Section] 575-3;
  45. right to gasoline dealer franchise, H.R.S [Section] 486H-9;
  46. right to sue for tort and death by wrongful act, H.R.S [Sections] 663-1, 663-3;
  47. right to support after divorce, H.R.S [Section] 580-47;
  48. right to support from spouse, H.R.S [Section] 572-24;
  49. right of survivorship to custodial trust, H.R.S [Section] 554B-6;
  50. rights and proceedings for involuntary hospitalization and treatment, H.R.S [Sections] 334-1, 334-60.4, 334-60.5, 334-125;
  51. rights to notice, protection, benefits and inheritance under the Uniform Probate Code, H.R.S [Sections] 560:1-201, 560:2-102, 560:2-103, 560:2-109, 560:2-201, 560:2-207, 560:2-401, 560:2-402, 560:2-403, 560:2-404, 560:2-508, 560:2-802, 560:3-101, 560:3-203, 560:3-303, 560:3-403, 560:3-109, 560:3-902, 560:3-906, 560:3-1212, 560:5-103, 560:5-210, 560:5-301, 560:5-309, 560:5-311, 560:5-410, 560:5-422, 560:5-601, 560:6-107;
  52. sole interest on property, H.R.S [Section] 516-181(b);
  53. spousal privilege and confidential marital communications, H.R.S [Section] 626-1, Rule 505 of the Hawaii Rules of Evidence;
  54. status of children, H.R.S [Sections] 577-14, 577-15, 557-25, 577-26, 577A-3;
  55. succession to Hawaii Homes Commission leases, Hawaii Homes Commission Act [Section] 209.
  56. support payments in divorce action, H.R.S [Section] 571-52;
  57. tax relief for natural disaster losses, H.R.S [Section] 234-9;
  58. travel and transportation expenses of government employees, H.R.S. [Section] 83-8;
  59. vacation allowance on termination of public employment by death, H.R.S [Section] 79-7;
  60. veteran’s preference to spouse in the public employment, H.R.S. [Section] 76-103;
  61. vitro fertilization procedure coverage, H.R.S [Section] 432:1-604;
  62. waiver of fees for certified copies and and searches of vital statistics, H.R.S [Section] 338-14;

None of these regulations governing marriage rights and responsibilities are available to same-sex partners.

Also see:

Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage

    Netherlands (2001)
    Belgium (2003)
    Canada (2005)
    Spain (2005)
    South Africa (2005)
    Norway (2009)
    Sweden (2009)
    Iceland (2010)
    Argentina (2010)
    Portugal (2010)
    Denmark (2012)
    France (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    Brazil (2013)
    Uruguay (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    United Kingdom
      (England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
    Luxembourg (2014)
    Finland (2014)
    Ireland (2015)
    United States (2015)
    Colombia (2016)
    Germany (2017)
    Taiwan (2017)
    Malta (2017)
US States & Territories

    Massachusetts (2004)
    California (2008)
    Connecticut (2008)
    Iowa (2009)
    Vermont (2009)
    New Hampshire (2009)
    District of Columbia (2009)
    New York (2011)
    Maine (2012)
    Washington (2012)
    Maryland (2013)
    Rhode Island (2013)
    Delaware (2013)
    Minnesota (2013)
    Illinois (2013)
    Utah (2013)
    New Jersey (2013)
    Hawaii (2013)
    New Mexico (2013)
    Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Oregon (2014)
    Wisconsin (2014)

    Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Pennsylvania (2014)
    Indiana (2014)
    Nevada (2014)
    Virginia (2014)
    Oklahoma (2014)
    Idaho (2014)
    West Virginia (2014)
    Alaska (2014)
    Arizona (2014)
    Wyoming (2014)
    Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Florida (2014)
    Colorado (2014)
    North Carolina (2014)
    South Carolina (2014)
    Montana (2014)
    Alabama (2015)
    U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
      Ruling: All U.S. States must now
      allow same-sex couples the
      freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes

    Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
    Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
    Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
    Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
    Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
    Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
    Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
    Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
    Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
    Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
    Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
    Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
    Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
    Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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