Bishop will marry under N.H. civil unions law
CONCORD, N.H. -- The Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, says he and his partner of 18 years will be among the couples taking advantage of New Hampshire's soon-to-be-signed civil unions law.
"My partner and I look forward to taking full advantage of the new law," Robinson told the Associated Press yesterday.
Robinson, 59, was elected the ninth Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire four years ago, making him the church's first openly gay bishop. His elevation divided the Anglican community around the world, but has sparked far less controversy in New Hampshire.
His partner, Mark Andrew, 53, is a state healthcare administrator. They live in Weare .
Robinson commented after the state Senate voted for the bill and sent it to Governor John Lynch, who says he will sign it. With the vote, the state became the first to embrace same-sex unions without a court order or the threat of one.
The Senate passed the bill 14 to 10 on party lines, Democrats in favor, Republicans against.
Three other states offer civil unions for gay couples: New Jersey, Connecticut, and Vermont. Neighboring Massachusetts in 2004 became the only state to allow gay marriage.
"I kind of am speechless," said state Representative Bette Lasky, a Democrat who shepherded civil unions through the House. "I'm delighted this is the result, and I'm proud of both the House and Senate for upholding New Hampshire's tradition of advancing minority rights."
The vote "moves us one step closer to the American promise to all its citizens of equality under the law," Robinson said.