Gov. signs bill legalizing gay marriage in Hawaii

HONOLULU - Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a bill legalizing gay marriage in a state that kicked off a national discussion on the issue more than two decades ago.

Abercrombie signed the bill Wednesday at a ceremony at the Hawaii Convention Center, near the tourist hub of Waikiki.

Now, Hawaii is positioning itself for a bump in tourism. An estimate from a University of Hawaii researcher says gay marriage will boost tourism by $217 million over the next three years, as Hawaii becomes a destination for ceremonies and honeymoons for couples in other states.

The measure will allow gay couples to marry starting Dec. 2.

Another 14 states and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex marriage, while a bill is awaiting the governor's signature in Illinois.