[JURIST] New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch [official profile] signed a bill [HB 437 text; press release] Thursday allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions with the "same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as married couples" beginning in January 2008. Lynch hailed the bill as a continuation of "New Hampshire's longstanding tradition of rejecting discrimination... [which] dates back to the Abolitionist movement."
The legislation passed the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate [JURIST reports] in April. Currently, Massachusetts is the only state that has legalized same-sex marriages [JURIST report], but California, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Washington now permit civil unions or domestic partnerships. Oregon will allow same-sex couples to enter into contractual domestic partnerships [JURIST report] in January 2008. AP has more.