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N.H. gov. signs civil unions bill

CONCORD, N.H. (BP)–New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed a bill May 31 legalizing same-sex civil unions, continuing a recent trend that has seen homosexual activists tally several significant victories.

The signature by Lynch, a Democrat, makes New Hampshire the seventh state in the nation to grant homosexual couples essentially all the state legal benefits of marriage. In the past six months, three states — New Jersey and Oregon are the other two — have adopted similar laws. Additionally, Washington state passed a law granting same-sex couples some of marriage’s legal benefits.

“I’ve listened and heard all the arguments,” Lynch said in a statement. “I do not believe this bill threatens marriage. I believe this is a matter of conscience and fairness. And my view is that, it’s never too soon to act to prevent discrimination.”

Pro-family groups, though, argue otherwise. In fact, in every state that has legalized civil unions, there remains a significant push to legalize “gay marriage.” The New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition — a homosexual activist group — said on its website that while it supports the bill, there is “still a ways to go before we achieve full equality in New Hampshire.”

Karen Testerman, executive director of New Hampshire Cornerstone Policy Research, a pro-family group, said the civil unions bill renders a new definition of the family.

“Why are we putting the special interests of one particular group above the best interests of our children and their families?” she asked. “Children need mothers and fathers, and the natural family is the best environment to raise children…. We are looking at this behavior [homosexuality] as a normal, acceptable behavior. In reality, we should be looking at it as a public health situation. The majority of HIV cases are caused by it.”

Passage of the bill became possible last fall when Democrats took control of both chambers. Although it had been introduced previously under Republican control, it never passed either the House or Senate.

“I don’t think it would have gotten this far if they [Democrats] had not been in control,” Testerman said. “The vote in the Senate went strictly down party lines.”

New Hampshire becomes the fourth state with civil unions, joining Connecticut, New Jersey and Vermont. California and Oregon have something similar but call it “domestic partnerships,” while Massachusetts remains the lone state to recognize “gay marriage.”

Despite the strong push for legalization of “gay marriage” and civil unions, the data shows that — while there generally is an early rush for the licenses — over the long haul same-sex couples are not crazy about commitment.

For instance:

— In Massachusetts, 6,121 homosexual couples received marriage licenses in the last half of 2004, when it became legal. But in 2005, that number dropped to 2,060, and in 2006, to 1,427. Through April 26 of this year, only 87 same-sex couples had obtained marriage licenses, Newhouse News Service reported.

— In Vermont, 2,091 couples got civil union licenses in 2000, the first year it was legal. Last year, only 548 couples did.

— In Connecticut, only 18 percent of homosexual couples in the state got a civil union license in the first 15 months they were legal there. (Census data from 2000 was used to ascertain the number of couples within the state.)

— In New Jersey, 852 couples obtained a civil union license in the first three months after they became legal this year.

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  • Michael Foust