At midnight, New Hampshire became the fourth state to allow same-sex civil unions, and more than 40 couples came from across the state to ring in 2008 with vows under the State House arch, the Concord Monitor reports. Planned as a small ceremony for about 20 couples, the event drew almost 200 revelers and a single well-behaved protester.
More ceremonies are taking place throughout the state today. New Hampshire was the first state to legalize unions without the threat of a lawsuit, and one state rep said he hopes the images from the ceremony will encourage other gay couples to tie the knot. “They are going to realize it’s okay to be gay, and that the state says it’s okay to be gay,” he said.