CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) - New Hampshire lawmakers authorized same-sex civil unions on Thursday, in a bill that will complete New England's transformation into a unique U.S. region where gay and lesbian couples have some form of legal recognition and conjugal rights.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 14-10 along party lines to give gays and lesbians nearly the same rights as married couples. The bill sailed through the House of Representatives on April 4, and Democratic Gov. John Lynch said last week he would sign it.