The Governor of the American state of New Hampshire indicated yesterday the he will sign into law a bill to legalise same-sex civil unions.

The state will become the fourth in the USA to allow such unions. The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives by a margin of 2 to 1.

It is due to be voted on by state’s Senate next week and is expected to pass.

“New Hampshire has a proud history and tradition of taking the side of opposing discrimination where it occurs.

“This bill will go a long way toward ensuring that,” Governor John Lynch said, according to the Burlington Free Press.

“I believe it is a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination.”

The Episcopalian Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, gave evidence to the state legislature earlier this month supporting same-sex unions.

“This legislation simply has nothing do to with religious bodies and their affirmation or rejection of such unions in the civil realm,” Bishop Robinson told a state committee hearing.

“What we seek in the civil realm is the equal treatment by the state government in supporting this development of our relationship with the legal, financial, and societal underpinnings which are afforded married couples at the very moment they say ‘I do.'”

State senators at the committee were divided on the new legislation.

One, Gary Francoeur, asked fellow lawmakers to vote against civil unions, even though he has a lesbian daughter.

“My heart aches today as I watch the consequences of the sin in their lives,” he said.

His daughter “knows the law of the land yet she chooses to live a homosexual lifestyle,” he said, according to AP.

In contrast, State senator Martha Fuller Clark said she wanted all her children of whatever sexuality to have equal rights.

Massachusetts has legal same-sex marriage and Vermont, New Jersey, and Connecticut have allowed civil unions.