CONCORD, N.H. (BP)–New Hampshire’s Senate passed a bill April 26 that would legalize homosexual civil unions, sending it to Gov. John Lynch, who has said he will sign it.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 14-10, would make New Hampshire the fourth state to legalize civil unions, putting it alongside Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey. Civil unions grant same-sex couples the same state legal benefits as marriage, minus the name. The bill previously passed the state House, 243-129.
Lynch, a Democrat, told the Associated Press April 19 he would sign the bill, saying it is a “matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination.”
Prior to the vote, though, the pro-family organization Cornerstone Policy Research issued a statement asserting civil unions are “same-sex marriage under another name” and urging Lynch to “veto any bill that will undermine the historic institution of marriage.”
The vote in the Senate was along party lines, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing it. Democrats captured both the House and Senate last fall, giving civil union supporters in the state new hope. Some supporters said civil unions are a stepping stone toward legalizing “gay marriage” in the state.
Oregon likely will join New Hampshire soon and pass “domestic partnerships,” which at least in Oregon would be identical to civil unions except for the name. California also has domestic partnerships.
Massachusetts remains the only state to recognize “gay marriage.”
Compiled by Michael Foust.