Two states, Hawaii and Delaware, began certifying same sex civil unions on New Year's Day, bringing the list of states that recognize same same sex partners to five.
New Jersey, Rhode Island and Illinois are the other states where same sex civil unions are recognized. While not quite the same as a marriage, civil unions confer most of the rights of marriage on both partners.
Just six states recognize full-fledged same sex marriages: Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, along with the District of Columbia.
In granting same sex couples the state's recognition, lawmakers in both Hawaii and Delaware specifically noted in the law that they did not intend to "revise the definition or eligibility requirements of marriage."
This video is from CNN, broadcast Jan. 2, 2012.