Governor John Lynch has signed a bill that will legalize same-sex “marriage” in New Hampshire when it comes into effect in January 2010. The bill passed in the House today by a vote of 198-176.
Same-sex “marriage” legislation was originally passed in the House on March 26 by a vote of 186-179 and was then approved by the Senate in a 13-11 vote on April 29. The legislation was then passed on to Gov. Lynch for approval or veto.
However, Governor Lynch stated at the time that he would not sign the bill unless it was amended to adequately protect religious groups. The bill was then amended to do so, but then defeated in late May, apparently over opposition to the inclusion of the religious protections. However, the House then worked out a compromise, and another amended form of the bill was passed today that included some protections for religious groups.
Kevin Smith, executive director of Cornerstone Policy Reearch, complained about the confusing and fragmented process that the bill followed on its way to being passed. “It is no surprise that the Legislature finally passed the last piece to the gay marriage bill today. After all, when you take 12 votes on five iterations of the same issue, you’re bound to get it passed sooner or later,” said Smith.
Religious groups, according to the amended bill, are free to have control over doctrine, policies, teaching, and belief about marriage. Also, religious organizations that are charitable or educational are not required to pay insurance or other benefits to the “spouse” of a homosexual employee.
New Hampshire is now the sixth state in the US to allow same-sex “marriage,” along with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, and Iowa.