"Spousal unions" for same-sex couples pass New Hampshire House:

The vote was overwhelming and bipartisan, 243-129. The bill is limited to same-sex couples, who will have all the rights and restrictions of marriage. Attempts to include father-son and sister-aunt partnerships, etc., and opposite-sex couples, were defeated.

The bill moves to the state senate and then to the Democratic governor, who opposes gay marriage but hasn't spoken either way on civil or "spousal" unions.

New Hampshire would be the sixth state to grant full marital benefits to gay couples, and the third to do so purely legislatively, without an order from a court. All of the state-wide laws so far have been limited to same-sex couples (with an exception for elderly opposite-sex couples in California) and have applied the consanguinity and other eligibility restrictions of marriage.

UPDATE: A commenter makes an excellent catch. The actual legislation calls the new partnerships "spousal unions" — not "civil unions" — making it even harder to distinguish what the state is doing from marriage. I've adjusted the title and text of the post to reflect this. It's going to test some boundaries.

Some interesting questions to ask presidential candidates campaigning in New Hampshire and who've said they favor "civil unions," but not "marriage": Do you favor "spousal unions" for gay couples that give them all the rights and responsibilities of marriage but aren't called "marriages"?

And what if we take it the next step and called them "marital unions" but not "marriage"? This will test just what it is people think is at stake in the use of language to describe gay families.