June 3rd, 2009
07:32 PM ET
9 years ago

NH governor signs same-sex marriage into law

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed a bill Wednesday legalizing same-sex marriage in his state.

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed a bill Wednesday legalizing same-sex marriage in his state.

(CNN) - New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed same-sex marriage into law Wednesday night.

The bill, which passed the House 198-176 on Wednesday, also was approved by the state Senate 14-10.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - the nation's primary lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy and anti-defamation organization - applauded Lynch's decision.

"Gov. Lynch's signing of the marriage equality bill grants legal protections for same-sex couples in New Hampshire to take care of and be responsible for each other," said the organization's president, Neil Giuliano.

"As people get to know the loving and committed couples at the heart of marriage equality, our culture is moving to equality."

Both chambers had previously voted to approve same-sex marriage but Lynch said he would sign the bill into law only if the legislature added new language to protect religious institutions that did not want to perform such marriages.

"We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity," Lynch had said. "I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals."

The Democratic governor said that in recent months he had spoken to lawmakers, religious leaders and constituents as he formed his opinion on the bill.

New Hampshire becomes the sixth state in the nation - alongside Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont - currently providing or soon to provide marriage benefits to gays and lesbians.

Vermont's law takes effect September 1 and Maine's September 14, unless its citizens collect enough signatures to put the measure on the fall ballot in the state. New Hampshire's new law takes effect on January 1, 2010.

New Hampshire and Maine are the only states in the nation where representatives elected by voters approved same-sex marriage legislation. The others were decided by high court decisions, although legislatures in Vermont and Connecticut subsequently passed measures codifying the court rulings.

Marry Mo Baxley, executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry told CNN, "We're so very proud of our elected officials. We've taken our grievances to our elected officials, and they've responded."

Still, married gay couples do not share federal benefits such as Social Security, tax breaks and immigration benefits that are granted to straight married couples. Baxley is counting on President Barack Obama to make those changes.

"He said he would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and we fully expect him to keep that promise," she said.

Even amongst the excitement, GLAAD president Giuliano remained cautious, referring to the topic of gay marriage benefits as one "that will be a future debate and a future conversation that we'll be having in this country for quite a while."

Filed under: New Hampshire • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. The Broker.

    On his own Marriage Licence?

    June 3, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Wonderful! Let's ban discrimination of all kinds!

    June 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Cowboy in West Texas

    I always wonder what the majority of the people of the state really think. I know the majority of the people they elected voted for same sex marriages – but would the outcome be the same in a general election.

    June 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Mike Patterson

    Thank you, Governor Lynch. You have acted well to ensure equality under the law for both heterosexual and homosexual families. :o)

    June 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    How sweet. Oh, it's just...just...just adorable.
    I think I'm going to cry. (sniff, sniff)

    June 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Dawn in Pa

    Terriffic and they lived happily ever after...

    June 3, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. No Incumbents 2010

    Marriage has caused more suffering and hardship than any legal arrangement known to mankind.
    The government should get out of the marriage business entirely and call all unions "civil unions" regardless of same-sex or opposite-sex.

    June 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Ryan in VA

    Take religion out of the picture and there is no good reason to ban gay marriage. Given the fact that marriage by Justice of the Peace is legal and secular, it's already proven that religion need not be included in the actual legal marriage. Heck, my OWN wedding was completely devoid of any and all mention of God, was purposefully and completely secular, and is 100% legal.

    ...and even Darth Cheney himself is for it. Let equality for ALL become the norm and the healing can begin.

    June 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Jazz

    I still cannot understand why the added language was necessary. Do the clergy in NH not have the right to refuse to marry couples already? Can they force a Catholic priest to marry 2 Quakers under the former law? Sure, for civil servants you serve the laws of the state without discrimination, but the clergy didn't need the extra protection.

    June 3, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Ted

    Good for the Live Free or Die state.

    June 3, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. MJM

    Hey all you states that are allowing same-sex marriages, jump in the handbasket and meet hell!!! I'm sure there are a lot in the states that are letting homo-sexuels get married that do not agree with it being passed but I am sitll proud of California for standing firm so far and I hope they continue to do so, no matter what opposition they may get. No, I do not live in Cailfornia. I don"t care what any of you think, people were not made home-sexuels, cause God don't make mistakes. I don't know what has happened to people to make them think they are attracted to the same sex but it is not the way it is suppose to be. wo women cannot make a child and neither can two men so it is not suppose to be that way.

    I don't hate homo-sexuels but just because I don't hate them does not mean I have to agree with them.

    June 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Carl from MI

    Good... it's about freakin' time! With hetrosexuals having over a 50% divorce rate, maybe homo's will have a lower rate than hetro's.

    All that put aside, think of how much money it will inject into local economies for small businesses... money for cake service, tuxido rentals, dress shops, caterers, flower shops, alcohol distributors, print shops... everybody benefits when money is being put back into the economy!!

    And to all of you from the Radical Religious Right who want to start quoting Leviticus again... please remember that the beginning chapters of Leviticus only talk about how to prepare your BURNT OFFERINGS to God.

    That's right, burning dead animal flesh as a sacrifice to God! So when we start seeing burnt offerings again, only then should anyone start listening to your argument about God disapproving of gays.

    June 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. deb

    Great! I can't see what all the commotion is about anyway. How does a gay marriage impact a straight marriage? It doesn't.

    June 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. MJM

    TO: Cowboy in West Texas

    I'm there with you!

    June 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. Jon in CA

    WOW... never would I have imagined that CALIFORNIA would be leading the country on an important civil and moral issue!!

    Thank goodness for California voters preserving marriage = 1 man + 1 woman!

    June 3, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Let's be honest. All the same arguments (right down to each and every adjective) against gay marriage were used to try to stop interracial marriage just 50 short years ago. The vast majority of people who are against gay marriage are against it for religious reasons. Because some marriage ceremonies are held in religious places, they forget that marriage is a CIVIL right and comes with thousands of economic and social benefits (as well as responsibilities). Putting civil rights up for a public vote is a very dangerous precedent. What's to stop someone from filing a referendum to strip interracial marriage rights? Trust me, there are places in this country where that would have a good chance of passing. All polls that a vast majority of people 25 and under support gay marriage, so it's just a matter of time anyway. Why not support equal civil rights for ALL people? Maybe then my 75 year old father could marry the man he has shared his life with for 45 years before he dies.

    June 3, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. Carrie, CA

    Well, if the citizens of NH want it, fine. Good for them.

    June 3, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. BubbaNH

    @Texas Cowboy: right, and the majority of voters in 1940 would have banned blacks from equality...the general election process is not for rights questions....the majority is not always open to equality...

    June 3, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  19. Frank in Wilton Manors

    MJM, if ever there was a case for keeping abortion legal, you're it.

    June 3, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. Lauren from Tallahassee, FL

    Congratulations, New Hampshire!

    I am glad to see my country is recognizing true equality and that any law banning same-sex marriage was a violation of the FIrst Amendment. Separate is not equal; for reference, see Brown v. Board.

    As a heterosexual, I am getting married and cannot fathom being judged by someone else's personal religious beliefs with no regard to my beliefs and being told I could not marry the person I love.

    Another step towards true equality. Thank you for adding another state to the list, New Hampshire!

    June 3, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. L Rivera

    Another hot-issue law imposed without the vote of the citizens.

    June 3, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. Carl from MI

    To my friend the Cowboy in West Texas:

    If the outcome of popular vote was the way to go, then Dubya would have lost his first Presidential election due to just that!!

    See... that train of thought only works when it's your agenda or person that wins by the popular vote. Otherwise, it's NOT a good thing. Just think... NO WAR IN IRAQ... NO MASSIVE NATIONAL DEBT... NO TORTURING... NO SECRET WIRETAPPING... NO EIGHT YEARS OF DUBYA SYSTEMATICALLY DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY!!

    If only things were decided just by popular vote... THINK OF HOW MUCH BETTER OFF OUR NATION WOULD BE THIS VERY MOMENT... with Dubya never have been elected due to losing the popular vote!! That changes everything now, doesn't it????

    June 3, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. LongBeach, CA

    For those who are celebrating the California Supreme Court decision, let me tell is not going to be for so long. So celebrate as much as you can.
    In 2010 elections, we will make sure that this time California allows same-sex marriages. Also, a lawsuit is coming up on federal courts. Civil rights will always win no matter how hard it is for people to get it.

    June 3, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. Nick from NH

    198-176 is the real vote count. Not as lopsided as the misprint suggests. The 14-10 Senate count is correct. Again, this is lopsided and the legislation was voted on repeatedly until it finally passed. Political agenda was followed instead of the people's agenda, as is always the case with homosexual marriage. Carrie in CA, nobody's asked the people in NH if they want it or not–as usual, the people were bypassed. Oh I miss real democracy.

    June 3, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. Bryan

    Well, at least the momentum is in the right direction. California will be there soon enough. Hopefully Obama will wise up on this one.

    It's absolutely ridiculous to prevent rights to a people because your dictionary sucks. Throw out your dictionaries, and get an education.

    June 3, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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