New Hampshire Governor Signs Legislation Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

In civil rights, Gay Rights, Justice, politics on June 4, 2009 by Editor Z

Governor John Lynch (D-NH) has signed legislation legalizing gay marriage in the granite state today. The legislation comes after it was passed by both chambers of the state legislature last month.

It was initially uncertain rather Lynch would sign the legislation. However a compromise that would ensure religious institutions and faiths opposed to the concept of same sex marriage would not be forced to perform ceremonies officiating the marriages.

New Hampshire is now the sixth state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage. Rhode Island is now officially the only New England state not to yet legalize gay marriage.

Traditionally conservative New Hampshire today became the sixth state in the nation — and the fifth state in New England — where same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.

“Today we’re standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect under New Hampshire law,” Governor John Lynch said before signing the legislation in a State House ceremony at about 5:20 p.m.

Lynch said it was a New Hampshire tradition “to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections, and that tradition continues today.” The room, filled by scores of the bill’s supporters, resounded with applause as he signed.

Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, praised the move by Lynch and the state of New Hampshire.

“With Gov. Lynch signing legislation passed by the state Senate and House, New Hampshire has become the latest state to recognize that loving, committed couples, and their families, should receive equal dignity and respect under the law,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “No religious institution will have to recognize any marriage under this law, as the language proposed by Gov. Lynch and agreed to by the legislature made abundantly clear.”

Despite the religious protections inserted in the legislation, the move didn’t happen without protest from some voices. Some people still persist in getting their kicks from bashing gays and invoking God in thier defense.

After the House vote, Barbara Haines, 54, of Manchester, whispered, “Repent, repent,” to people passing by her in the State House halls. Haines said God meant marriage to be reserved for a man and woman. “The basis of marriage is in God, and he created the male and female to be married and have a family — and these people are deceived,” she said.



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