New Hampshire Governor John Lynch has signed legislation establishing civil unions for same-sex couples in the state.
The legislation, House Bill 437, allows same-sex couples to enter civil unions and have the same rights as married couples under state law.
The law, which becomes effective January 1, 2008, also states that "a civil union or a marriage between a man and another man or a woman and another woman legally contracted outside of New Hampshire shall be recognized as a civil union in this state."
New Hampshire joins Connecticut, Vermont, and New Jersey in offering civil unions to same-sex couples. Massachusetts is the only state that allows same-sex couples to marry.