New Hampshire could become the fourth state to extend civil union rights to same-sex couples in the US.

In a bipartisan 243-129 vote, the New Hampshire State House passed civil unions legislation that would give same-sex couples the exact same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples in the state.

The legislation would also make it possible for New Hampshire to recognise civil unions that were legally performed in another state that recognises same-sex relationships.

“This is a tremendous step forward for same-sex couples in New Hampshire to finally receive the legal recognition they deserve,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“The bipartisan nature of today’s vote shows that this is not an issue of Democrat or Republican but it is an issue of equality that crosses party lines. There is a trend underway in our country to recognise the relationships of same-sex couples and that is a welcome sign of equality for all Americans,” he added.

The bill now moves for consideration in the New Hampshire state Senate. If passed there, it would go to Governor John Lynch’s desk for signing into law.

Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont have civil union laws for same-sex couples. California and Maine have a similar relationship recognition law that is termed a domestic partnership.

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