January 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Same-sex couples rush to wed in N.H.

BOSTON — Same-sex couples rushed to marry in New Hampshire starting Jan. 1, when it became the fifth U.S. state to allow gays to wed.

“I feel fabulous. It was wonderful, and it was historic,” said Linda Murphy, 50, a college administrator from southern New Hampshire who married Donna Swartwout, her partner of 19 years, according to Reuters.

Reuters reported the two were among 150 people who gathered in the state capital of Concord, in temperatures of about 21 degrees, to witness the marriages of about a dozen gay and lesbian couples by a justice of the peace as the New Year dawned.

New Hampshire passed its law in June amid an emotional national debate. The New England state joins Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa in permitting full marriage equality for same-sex couples. Washington, D.C., is also on track for approval.

New York state lawmakers voted against same-sex marriage last month. In Maine, a state law that would have allowed the nuptials, was turned back in a referendum in November. A same-sex marriage bill is pending in New Jersey, and in California, same-sex marriage was overturned in a popular vote in 2008.

“People focus on the setbacks, but last year there was one state and now there are five states,” said Mo Baxley, executive director of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, according to Reuters.

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