(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."
The only people that have a problem with same sex marriage, are those who are (1) Not married and have little to no options, (2) Are in an unstable marriage, (3) Are afraid that their 'spouse' would leave them for someone of the same sex they 'really' want to be with.
Those who use the bible or religion as a scapegoat to justify their their own wrong doing should really be ashamed of themselves.
For all of the people talking about the will of the people of New Hampshire: New Hampshire (and most New England states) have a majority supporting same-sex marriage. Having the democratically-elected representatives of these people legalize same-sex marriage, and having the democratically-elected executive official sign the bill into law, does not constitute disobeying the will of the majority.
Upholding the traditions of our founding fathers that all are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thank you NH for moving our country one step closer!
Good job, New Hampshire! One small step for man, one giant leap against asinine prohibitions based on 2,000 year old desert scribblings.
Fundamental human rights should NEVER be subject to popular vote. The very notion this country was founded under, namely the protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority demands equality for all. Not just for religious zealots.
For a person of God, you sure seem judgmental calling anyone who is homosexual a "mistake".
You are a minority in your train of thought. You are why so many people are not religious. That is not God; hate is not God. Do not try to uphold the rest of us to your rhetoric of hate and discrimination.
L Rivera June 3rd, 2009 5:53 pm ET
Another hot-issue law imposed without the vote of the citizens
Who the hell are you to tell someone else who they can marry. Who are you to deside if another citizen is entitled to rights.
Civil Unions vs. Marriage is no different than Separate but Equal...that is treating gays as second class citizens and while I'm sure your opinion is to treat them that way, you shouldn't get to impose your opinion on someone else's life. I'm sure popular vote back in the separate but equal days would be to keep it that way...thankfully we evolved.
You don't approve of gay marriage? Don't marry someone of the same sex. Someone else's personal life is none of your business!
If the majority of the vote will only count, then interracial marriages would be illegal this very moment.
About time. This discussion is getting old. All you old yuppies will die off and same sex will eventually be legal everywhere as younger people don't consider this as an issue.
For those that think that being gay is a choice...you are ignorant. How would you know what it's like to be gay? Just cuz of what your preacher tells you? Or your little fairy tale entitled "The Bible" tells you?
Well your religious beliefs have no room or place in governement and law except that you have the right to practice it privatly without forcing your beleifs onto others.
And then after the killing of that abortion doctor and the hate that spews from the religious-right about homosexuality. I have a new name for the religious right....THE AMERICAN TALIBAN.
Enjoy your title folks, but as long as you keep denying other people's freedom by force, violence, or religious influence...that is what you are. An american-bred terrorist.
Carl in MI
Guess I will have to see what the popular vote in the first election of George W was – I kinda think he won the popular vote but I have to check.
Governor Lynch has proven that he is just another lying Democrat politician who is beneath his office. He told the people he was opposed to same-sex marriage and what good does it do the voters that he's now telling them that it was just his personal opinion? He's a dishonest deceiver and deserves to be impeached.
Think about this: By 2020... White people will be in the minority in Texas with Hispanics becoming the majority.
And what if they have a popular vote to seceed from the United States and become a state of Mexico?? Is putting every issue to the popular vote a good thing? That's one voted I can't wait to see what happens...
To all those in Texas who think the citizens of this nation should only do whatever the majority decides is best... wait another 10 years when you become part of the minority vote and then get back to me, will you??
I'd love to hear about the minority rights of white people...
Patrick says: "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."
Actually, that's hogwash. If it were true why are African-Americans and minorities amongst the most likely to oppose gay marriage?
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh Carl in Mi –
you are right –
so now if Gore had been elected I would be permitting the methane gas my cows release and steak would be $20 a pound.....
things would have changed
All is fair isn't it?
It is about time that we stop discrimination against homosexuals. Religion has always target homosexuality as being evil and abomination. Religion has done nothing but to generate hate toward homosexuals. I don’t understand how religion persuades respect and love for others.
Try to save your soul if you believe in God. Show love for your brothers and sisters, and do not try to make people to behave in a way you want to. After all when we die, every single person will come before God to explain what good or bad things did. God will not ask for your neighbors. God will judge you for what you have done. So stop putting God at front of the issue.
It's simple: Separation of church & state. Well done New Hampshire for finding a solution. Gays don’t to be married under the religious institutions (Particularly where they are not accepted), they want the same benefits under the law (joint taxes, hospital visitation rights…) that straight couples get with a marriage. Civil Unions are not the same as marriages under the law and do not offer full legal marriage rights. Bottom line: We all pay taxes and work hard. We all deserve equal rights...
With this new language, the religious right can no longer distract this discussion with false claims like state-forced marriages and educating children... This is a fantastic step forward for our country!
Congratulations New Hampshire!
When eill people understand that you cannot put the rights of the minority up to a vote by the majority?
And if we did... whose lives would be voted on next? Should we vote on whether or not Republicans should be allowed to marry... or vote? How about Blacks... or Jews... or Hispanics... or Mormons... or Catholics and all the other MINORITIES?
states that legalize same sex marriage should also legalize prostitution. nevada is moving toward legalizing same sex marriages and they already have legal prostitution. c'mon now, it's time to legalize both across these usa. if you can accept one, why not the other?
What's the BIG deal??? It's NOT going to make my marrage any less unfavorable!
In my opinion, marriage is sacred union between only a man and a woman.
Homosexuality is not normal.
It looks as though traditional family values are now on their way to becoming extinct. Goodbye to the June and Ward Cleaver type of America and hello to history repeating itself with "The downfall of Rome".
Maybe we should be posting our congratulations to the state of new hampshire..maybe not..unfortunatly this will be challenged in the courts and will undoutably at some point end up on the state ballot at a future election..wheather this is the will of the people or not will be shown in time..on a seperate subject..how is it that no matter what the subject..there still has to be people whining about bush..cheney..the war..don't You people have better things to do than whine??..get over it already..as the subject of this post indicates we are trying to move on as a people..clowns like you love to grovel and whine..you hero is in the whitehouse now so get on with your meeningless little lives already
Just another sad day for the real America!
Hope it happens here in California. I certainly hope it will in my lifetime.
This is for all the future gay and lesbians children of this country! We will fight for you so you don't need to experience this type of discrimination! My hopes are up! New York next!
Wow MJM. How long did it take you to sound out the big words in this article?
Imagine if 51% of the nation was Mexican, and decided that Whites and Blacks should not be allowed to drive on state highways. The United States of America is not about majority oppression of minorities. If gays want to marry, it doesn't affect me any more than if two Neoconservatives want to marry. I don't know why some people are so obsessed with controlling the lives of others, but I find it strange that the type of Fascist thinking resides predominantly in a party alleged to believe in freedom, small government and less government interference in private life.