Friday, January 1, 2010

New Hampshire Rings in the New Year with the First Same-Sex Marriages

The same sex marriage bill that New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (left) signed into law this year became official at the stroke of midnight in New Hampshire.  According to the Associated Press, about 15 couples gathered in the cold at midnight to exchange vows outside the New Hampshire State House in Concord.

Some couples have opted not to exchange vows for a second or third time and instead wait for their civil unions to automatically change to marriages in 2011.  After December 31, 2010, New Hampshire will no longer offer civil unions, which Governor Lynch had also signed into law a number of years ago.

The switch from civil union to marriage changes nothing in the state benefits offered to same sex couples.  The term "marriage," however, could be of great significance of the Defense of Marriage ACt is repealed at the federal level.  Then the federal benefits of marriage (over 1,000 of them) would be available to married gay couples.

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