By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters) - New Hampshire lawmakers easily defeated a bill on Wednesday that would have been the first step toward reversing the state's three-year-old law allowing same-sex marriage.

The bill, an attempt to repeal a law that made gay marriages legal in the Northeast U.S. state, failed by a vote of 116-211 in the Republican-controlled legislature in Concord.

State lawmakers approved civil unions in 2007 and same-sex marriages in 2009. Close to 2,000 same-sex couples have been married in New Hampshire since the law went into effect January 1, 2010.

The new law would have replaced gay marriages with civil unions starting in 2013. Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, had promised to veto the bill if it reached his desk.

(Reporting By Ros Krasny; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)