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Hawaii Set to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate while the Hawaii State Senate convenes to approve a bill to legalize same-sex unions in the state of Hawaii, in Honolulu November 12, 2013.
The U.S. Pacific state of Hawaii is about to become the 15th in the United States to allow same-sex couples to marry.

On Tuesday, the Hawaiian state senate gave final approval to a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in the state long popular as a wedding and honeymoon destination. As the vote took place, hundreds of supporters who filled the chamber's visitor galleries and the Capitol rotunda cheered and applauded.

Governor Neil Abercrombie has promised to sign the legislation Wednesday morning. It will take effect next month.

The vote comes at a time of increasing momentum for gay marriage in U.S. courts, at the ballot box and statehouses across the country.

Only six states and the District of Columbia recognized same-sex marriage a year ago, but the number has since more than doubled.

Last month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dropped his legal opposition to gay marriage, making his state the 14th to legalize same-sex weddings.

Illinois lawmakers gave final approval to a same-sex marriage bill November 5, and Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign that measure later this month.