Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year and Congratulations!

Happy 2008, everyone!

Last night I watched the ball drop in Times Square via television (with a one-hour time delay for those of us on Central Time) along with C and a group of close friends. It was a great way to welcome the new year :-)

Some couples in New Hampshire welcomed the new year in an extra special way: by having their relationships recognized and protected by the state for the first time in history. Civil Unions for gay and lesbian couples became law in New Hampshire at 12:01am this morning, and many couples gathered on the steps of the statehouse in Concord to celebrate, such as Wendy Waterstrat (left) and Holly Henshaw (right) of Brookline, N.H.

State officials estimate between 3,500 and 4,000 civil unions will be performed this year. I'd like to extend warm congratulations to all those couples; I'm so happy for them!

Funny comments from Ed Brayton:
Today marks the beginning of civil unions for gays and lesbians in the state of New Hampshire, which of course means that all of the traditional marriages in that state lost their sanctity as of midnight last night. All of the families headed by straight families in that state are now under an imminent threat. Parents will stop loving their children. Men will marry box turtles. Mass chaos.
Interestingly, the AP reports that there was no conservative protest of the civil unions this morning, only a lone activist from Maine who had driven down to observe the goings-on and report back to his fellows. According to this man (Micheal Hein, who was passing out literature from his group, The Christian Civic League of Maine)

Without our vigilance in Maine, [civil unions are] something that could occur as soon as next year.

I certainly hope Mr. Hein's "vigilance" is unsuccessful and that gay and lesbian couples in Maine soon enjoy the same freedoms as those in New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, my own state's legislature is presently pondering a bill that would make Illinois the first Midwest state to recognize civil unions. Every few days I visit the government website that monitors the progress of Illinois HB1826. I don't know if Illinois is quite ready for civil unions, but wow, would it ever be cool if the bill passes!

Hat tips: Associated Press, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, and Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the only openly gay member of the Illinois legislature and the author of the bill that may one day bring legal recognition and protection to my relationship with C

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