Same-sex couple unites in Hanapepe

HANAPEPE — A same-sex couple announced last week that they tied the knot at a Hanapepe church.

“After 31 years, Roy and I were finally able to make it legal,” Loyd Clayton, 61, said Saturday about his civil union with Roy Buduan, 67. “It’s an accomplishment we’re proud of.”

The couple was united March 11 at Hanapepe United Church of Christ by the Rev. Phyllis Meighen.

“It was beautiful,” Meighen said.

“This was really done with the love of God. It was so clear to me that God’s grace was present,” the pastor said.

Meighen said it is the only civil union ceremony she has performed since a new state law went into effect on Jan. 1.

“Both Roy and I are active in our churches and didn’t want to have a relationship that wasn’t blessed in our church,” Clayton said, “and there’s  a lot of legal benefits such as rights of survivorship and state tax benefits.”  

The new law recognizes civil unions between gay couples. Hawai‘i is the seventh state in the U.S. to enact such a law. Those who perform civil unions must re-register with the state Department of Health.

“Civil unions have the same legal benefits (as traditional marriage), but it’s still put in the 1960s language of separate-but-equal,” Clayton said. “Civil unions have a separate status. We hope Hawai‘i will pass full legal rights soon.”

Civil unions can be performed by judges or clergy. Clayton said it was important to him and his partner to be united by Meighen in the church they have attended for 15 years.

The couple, who met in Honolulu, hope to take a honeymoon in the near future, Clayton said.

For more information about civil unions in the state of Hawai‘i, visit www.hawaii.gov/health.

• Vanessa Van Voorhis, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 251, or by emailing vvanvoorhis@thegardenisland.com.

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