Dozens of New Hampshire couples celebrating civil unions

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Dozens of gay and lesbian couples in New Hampshire are heading into the new year as legal couples.

Many couples were joined in civil unions just after midnight yesterday to be the first to celebrate the state’s new law.

Organizers say 37 couples checked in for an outdoor ceremony on the plaza of the New Hampshire Statehouse.

As ceremonies go, the outdoors event that began at 11 p.m. Monday was equal parts political rally, party and personal triumph.

Julie Bernier and her partner Joan Andresen never had been together 20 years before being legally joined yesterday.

New Hampshire is the fourth state in the nation to allow civil unions. Vermont was the first.

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