A new state law in the northeastern state of New Hampshire has legalized same-sex civil unions, giving couples in those partnerships the same rights as married couples.

The law went into effect at the start of the New Year.

Thirty seven gay couples braved cold temperatures in the state capital of Concord to be joined in civil union. The ceremonies were performed outside the statehouse after midnight local time.

The other states that allow civil unions are Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey. Massachusetts is the only state that allows gay marriage.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.