April 30th, 2009
02:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Same-sex marriage bill passes N.H. Senate

New Hampshire's Senate has approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry.
New Hampshire's Senate has approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry.

(CNN) - New Hampshire's Senate has approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry, but critics and fans of the bill say their work isn't over.

"We were obviously disappointed," Kevin Smith, executive director of the conservative Cornerstone Policy Research Action group, told CNN on Thursday. "We don't think the voters are going to forget about it."

On the other side, members of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition - a group that has worked since 2001 for same-sex marriage - were "absolutely thrilled," said Mo Baxley, the executive director.

But, noting that the bill is returning to the House for it to consider changes made by the Senate, Baxley added, "I think the work continues." Her organization will encourage its supporters to contact their representatives ahead of the House vote, she said.

On Wednesday, the state Senate voted 13 to 11 in favor of the bill, which differs from the House-approved version in that it distinguishes between civil and religious marriage. It allows each religion to decide whether to acknowledge same-sex marriage, but extends the option of civil marriage to any two individuals, said state Senate spokeswoman Anne Saunders.

The House, which passed the earlier version last month by a margin of seven votes, must approve the changed version before it can be sent to Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat who has questioned the need for the bill.

After the Senate vote, Lynch released a written statement saying he still believes "the fundamental issue is about providing the same rights and protections to same-sex couples as are available to heterosexual couples. This was accomplished through the passage of the civil unions law two years ago."

"To achieve further real progress," he added, "the federal government would need to take action to recognize New Hampshire civil unions."

Earlier this month, the governor said he believes the word "marriage" should be used only to describe a marriage between a man and a woman, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

"I think the word 'marriage' is reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman, and I think the real issues really are rights and protections for gay and lesbian couples," he told reporters on April 15, according to the newspaper.

Smith said his organization, which was established in 2000, would "lobby hard" to get the governor to veto the bill. He said he expected it to pass the House.

"Look, this is a matter of holding the governor accountable," he said. "He's been very public with his views on same-sex marriage in the state. ... We'll see if he was misleading the voters of New Hampshire or if he'll stand by his word and actually veto it."

Were the bill to become law, New Hampshire would become the fifth state allowing same-sex marriage, joining Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts and Iowa.

Only Vermont has established the practice legislatively.

–CNN's Taylor Gandossy contributed to this report.


Filed under: New Hampshire • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Pam

    Good for the people of NH!

    I do not undertand how a same sex marriage would harm mine. Please, can someone explain that to me? What harm is it to have equal rights for all? Isn't that what this country is about? Being free? By legalizing same sex marriages, no one is saying that "traditional" marriages have to end. I really just don't get it.

    April 30, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Wayne

    Equality is coming!

    April 30, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. seebofubar

    ONE NATION UNDER GOD...
    Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and laws. Anyone who believes that this serves to better our country in God's eyes needs to take a better look at the Bible. Families (one man, one woman and their children) are the building blocks fo the foundation of our society. Same sex marriage weakens the foundation and therefore puts society at risk of collapse. This is a sad day for Hew Hampshire and our country.

    April 30, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. JonDie

    Good for them? But how it that staid old New Hampshire is do progressive and enlightened...while California is ruled by bigots and hate-mongers?

    April 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Jennie

    The age of right wing intollerance is coming to an end. Thank goodness!

    April 30, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. david

    THE USA is just fine, and will not suffer at all, by allowing gay marriage. Just as it did not suffer by :

    1. creating a constitution allowing freedom of religion, freedom of speech, right to bear arms.
    2. abolishing slavery 1860's
    3. allowing women the right to vote 1919
    4. Integrate the military.1940's
    5. Integrate baseball 1940's
    6. Integrate schools.1950's
    7. Allow inter-racial marriage 1960's
    8. Allow same sex marriage in Massachucetts 2004, Vermont 2006, Connecticut 2008,Iowa 2009

    April 30, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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