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What's in a name? For gay couples getting civil unions, confusion

GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press

In the early 1990s, Christopher Bellis, wary of shocking people, introduced the men he was dating as his "friends."

Now, he and Eddie Bennett, who have been a couple since 1995, are considering replacing the word they usually use for each other - "partner" - with "spouse" or "husband."

New Jersey's new law creating civil unions, signed Thursday by Gov. Jon Corzine, gives same-sex couples many of the rights of marriage. Now, gay couples are weighing not what civil unions mean, but what to call them.

Some gay couples refer to entering into a civil union as getting "civilized" or "unionized."

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