Officials at the New Hampshire statehouse saw 37 couples line up to receive civil unions as 2008 rolled in at midnight on December 31st, including Gretchen Grappone and Rose Wiant (left), and Wendy Waterstrat and Holly Henshaw (right). The Boston Globe reported that a total of nearly 100 couples took advantage of the new law in its early hours.
The AP reported: “As ceremonies go, the outdoors event that began at 11 p.m. Monday was equal parts political rally, party and personal triumph. ‘We really didn’t believe that we’d be able to see this accomplished within one year but it has happened,’ Portsmouth state Rep. Jim Splaine, a sponsor of the civil unions bill, told the cheering crowd of about 200. ‘One thing we have to keep in mind is that there is much more to do. We have to continue the journey to make sure that we have marriage equality, full marriage equality — with the word marriage — soon.’ New Hampshire’s civil unions law — voted in by the Democrat-dominated Legislature early last year and signed by Democratic Gov. John Lynch in May, gives same-sex couples the same rights, responsibilities and obligations of marriage in everything but name. New Hampshire is the fourth state in the nation to allow civil unions and the first to do so without a court decision or the threat of one.”
The Concord Monitor noted both the benefits and the pitfalls of the new civil unions.
Similar celebrations would have been happening on America’s opposite coast in Oregon had it not been for the eleventh hour litigation of anti-gay marriage foes who succeeded in delaying the state’s domestic partners law from going into effect. I posted about that earlier.
Instead of celebrations, candlelight vigils are to be held statewide at 5:30 pm this evening. Locations and directions to the vigils can be found at Basic Rights Oregon.