Thursday, January 3, 2008

Gay N.H. couples celebrate, gain status in civil unions

By Noah Bierman
Boston Globe
January 2, 2008

PORTSMOUTH - Clad in jeans and loose-fitting sweaters, Rachel Gogan and Katie Raynes walked into the side room of a church basement yesterday and joined in a precedent-setting civil union ceremony.

And then they drove home to Dover for a quiet lunch.

The women, both in their mid-20s, were casual history-makers, among the first of about 100 couples in New Hampshire to unite under the state's civil union law that took effect yesterday. Their more formal and emotional, though unofficial, union took place in October, when friends and family gathered for a ceremony and party in Maine.

"We already had our wedding. This was the signing of our paperwork. The state's finally catching up with us," Gogan said.

New Hampshire became the fourth state to allow civil unions of same-sex couples. Just after midnight, the first 40 or so couples held ceremonies at the State House. Smaller ceremonies took place in other parts of the state throughout the day. By the afternoon, 11 couples, including Gogan and Raynes, were committed at South Church Unitarian Universalist Church in Portsmouth.

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