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New Hampshire House passes civil union bill

[JURIST] New Hampshire's House of Representatives [official website] passed a bill [HB 437 text] Wednesday to allow civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, placing the state in line to become fourth in the country to allow such relationships. The large Democratic majority in the House propelled the 243-129 vote [official roll call], but Democrats hold only a narrow majority in the state Senate [official website]. Experts believe that the bill will pass there as well, but it must also be approved by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch [official website], a Democrat who opposes gay marriage and has not publicly indicated if he will sign the bill into law. Lynch's press secretary told Reuters that the governor will discuss the bill with lawmakers before taking any action.

Last month, Washington's State Senate passed a domestic partnership bill [JURIST report], but that state's governor has indicated more enthusiasm about signing it into law. Reuters has more. The Concord Monitor has local coverage of Governor Lynch's views.

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