Hundreds of Gay Travelers to Converge on Hawaii On New Years Eve; Japan Seeks to Join Pacific Trade Agreement; Obama Embarks on Asia-Pacific Economic Mission

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Photo: Emily Metcalf

Gay Travelers to Converge on Hawaii On New Years Eve, Gay Web Site Says, which reports on stories related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender news, says Hawaii will be the site for a hundreds of weddings for LGBT couples on New Years Eve, the night before Hawaii’s new civil union law goes into effect.


Gov. Neil Abercrombie approved legislation that allows Hawaii couples to file for civil union, but it does not allow gay marriage.

Here is the full report:

“Long a destination for weddings, Hawaii extended the aloha spirit this year to civil unions and wedding planners are anxiously awaiting the stroke of midnight on December 31 when LGBT couples take advantage of the new law, which was signed by Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) in February.

“On New Year’s Eve, if all goes according to plan, hundreds of LGBT couples will say, ‘I do,’ on Waikiki Beach as fireworks ignite in the sky over Honolulu. Arlei Patterson and her business partner Nancy Wilder of Arlei Style, an event planning business, are organizing Union of a Lifetime, which they’ve been working on for a year.

“The three-day event will begin with a sunset rehearsal dinner featuring Hawaiian barbeque. Couples will honeymoon New Year’s Day before finalizing official paperwork January 2 and celebrate with a reception afterwards, said Patterson. ‘I’m a romantic at heart. It’s just the sweetest thing,’ said Patterson, 52, a lesbian.”

See more of this report in Edge Boston

Japan Seeks to Join Pacific Trade Agreement

Japan says it will participate in talks to join a U.S.-backed Pacific Rim free trade zone, a decision opposed by Japanese farmers who say the move will hurt them.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says he will hold talks about joining the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with leaders at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that begins Saturday in Hawaii.

He says having a role in the talks is in Japan’s national interest. He said his country will defend what it must protect and win what it needs to gain.

The prime minister was expected to announce the move on Thursday, but intense debate within his ruling Liberal Democratic Party delayed the decision.

Big Japanese exporters say joining the zone will put them on a more equal footing with some of their rivals. But heavily protected Japanese farmers say their livelihoods will be threatened by cheaper, imported agricultural products.

Until now, Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations have involved the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

(Report by VOA News)

Obama Embarks on Asia-Pacific Economic Mission

U.S. President Barack Obama is leaving Washington Friday on a nine-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region focused on boosting Washington’s ties with the growing economic power.

Mr. Obama will spend the first leg of his journey hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic forum in his birthplace of Honolulu, Hawaii. On the president’s agenda is discussion of a Pacific-wide free trade zone that includes the United States and eight nations .

Hours before Mr. Obama’s departure, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced his country will participate in talks to join the trade pact. The development could bring other regional economic powers as China into the discussions.

After a brief stop in Australia, Mr. Obama will make his second presidential trip to Indonesia, where he spent part of his boyhood. During his visit, he will become the first U.S. president to attend the East Asia Summit, which will be held on the tourist island of Bali.

Observers say the president is also using his Asia-Pacific trip to reassure allies the U.S. intends to continue to play a major role in the region, and serve as a counterweight to China’s rising status.

(Report by VOA News)