May 14th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
9 years ago

NH governor offers to sign same-sex marriage into law

(CNN) - New Hampshire Gov. Jon Lynch said Thursday that he will sign into law a bill allowing same-sex couples to wed - but only after the state legislature agrees to his terms.

"This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions," he said in a statement. "This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions.

"...But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals."

Lynch said if the state legislature passes the new language, he will sign the bill into law. Otherwise, he will veto the measure.

"We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity," he said. "I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it."

Lynch said he has spent the past weeks and months speaking to lawmakers, religious leaders and constituents in order to form his decision after New Hampshire's Legislature voted to approved same-sex marriages in the state.

The Granite State will, if approved by the governor, become the sixth state in the nation - alongside Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont - to provide marriage benefits to gays and lesbians.

"Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change," he said.

"I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families."

Filed under: New Hampshire • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Another state goes gay. The next National Govenors meeting will need to take place in a state without sodomy laws.

    May 14, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. scott stodden

    I do agree with Gov Lynch's views and stance on same sex couples, if we cant protect same sex couples and the religous groups then why pass the measure. I as a gay man would love to see gay marriage passed across the country in every state

    Scott (Freeport, Il)

    May 14, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Tulsa

    phoenix86 May 14th, 2009 4:40 pm ET
    Another state goes gay. The next National Govenors meeting will need to take place in a state without sodomy laws.
    Ah the sounds of spring, idiots from the right make twittering noises and wring their homophobic hands at the thought of gay people having rights.

    May 14, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. John in Ohio

    Freedom marches on.

    May 14, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. I sat in Rev. Wrights church pews for 20 years and didn't hear a word..

    A Great country going into the toilet, SICK in the head

    May 14, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. ctinsd

    5 down and 49 to go! Way to go NH! The door is open...and soon it will be WIDE open...

    May 14, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Matt from Toronto, Canada

    Good for them in NH! Not a bad provision, actually. Protecting the religious institutions rights while at the same time providing equality to homosexual couples, excellent work 🙂

    May 14, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Kristina, Seattle

    What on EARTH do religious institutions need "protection" from?? They're already protected to the extent that they don't even have to pay taxes... yet they expect to be allowed the power to dictate how others should live. Ridiculous.

    May 14, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Jon Crow

    Actually, there were all overturned years ago. The United States Supreme Court found a Texas couple had been discriminated against when police barged into their home and arrested them for having sex and ruled against the State of Texas and struck it down.
    Read more at:

    May 14, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. Craig in Williams, AZ

    About bloody TIME!

    May 14, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    WHAT IS THE PROPOSED LANGUAGE? How can you consider yourself as having done your job of informing the public if you don't provide the language at issue? How can any of us have any opinion one way or the other about it without the actual verbiage?

    Assuming he's doing what I think he's doing, though: "separate but equal" died a LONG time ago. If he is proposing "marriage" for some and "civil unions" for others, he's implicitly admitting that the word "marriage" would make this a law in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution by being a law ""respecting an establishment of religion." By making this move, he actually makes the case for calling all unions recognized by SECULAR LAW to be termed "civil unions"...which is of course something that the fundies don't want because they want our laws to codify their self-proclaimed moral superiority.


    May 14, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Rick

    Hey Phoeniz86,

    It should be fairly easy for the governors to meet in a state without sodomy laws; that would be EVERY state (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003).

    May 14, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. Hans Brecker, Albany NY

    why do I all of a sudden l want to eat a fudge cookie

    May 14, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. David in Dallas

    Practical solutions in action. Way to go Governor Lynch!

    May 14, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Colleen

    Congrats on Marriage Equality, NH! Looking forward to having it here in NY in the very near future.

    Proud to live in the Northeast!

    May 14, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. PA Citizen

    That seems like a very fair trade. It gives rights to gays, and keeps religious rights as well. A Smart Governor indeed.

    May 14, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. cerrey

    leave them aone

    May 14, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Seattle Sean

    Good For NH....Way to lead the Way New England States. Soon NY will follow suit. I just Hope California and my state of Washington will follow suit. Love is Love and Love is Blind. Love between two men and two women should be upheld just like love and marriage between a man and a woman. Love knowes no sex, race or religious affiliation.

    May 14, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Adam in TX

    More like another state votes for freedom and equality. I commend the governor for trying to find some common ground among the two sides of this issue and have hope that people who think like phoenix86 are a dying breed. We need to stop all the hating (which is unnatural, it must be taught) in this country.

    May 14, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Ken

    This is true to Republican Ideals – Smaller Government!

    The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.

    May 14, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Peter E

    I still don't understand that in a country that prides itself on the separation of church and state that there are ANY laws governing marriage? It is 'in the sight of God!' It is a RELIGIOUS institution! It is unconstitutional to pass any law banning gay marriage, just as much as the state has no right to pass a law requiring me or my Church to recognize gay marriage! Leave it in the hands of God, where it belongs!

    May 14, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. Francisco Cardenas

    It is a shame that churches need to be protected because it is assumed that they will discriminate against gays and lesbians. I am not gay, but I do know that Jesus associated with the "sinners and the tax collectors" and modern day churches have totally forgotten his example.

    May 14, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. Jon in CA

    @ Phoenix86 – You do realize the Supreme Court struck down all sodomy laws in the 2003 case Lawrence Vs. Texas.

    May 14, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Wayne

    FYI – sodomy laws were stricken down by the U.S. Supreme Court. No state, even if they had sodomy laws on the books, could enforce them.

    Also, just because a state legislature approves gay marriage equality, does not mean the state has "gone gay." Your comments are wholly juvenile and even your sarcasm is out of date.

    May 14, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Ken Folmar

    phoenix86....sodomy laws were struck down by the US Supreme Court years go, you might want to research before just stating the obvious. I applaud the governor for attempting to preserve a religious leader from being forced to recognize a marriage recognized by the civil authorities.....Marriage after all should be left to civil authorities and not religious authorities to preserve separation of church and state.

    May 14, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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