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

NH governor signs same-sex marriage into law

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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. Zoey, MA

    Heidi and Spencer Pratt, or should I say Heidi and Spencer Bratt were just awful on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

    Spencer, what a pig. He fought with ONLY women, and really with one black woman – because he was too afraid to fight with guys. He said he wastn't going to do his share of the cleaning, especially after the black guy. He stomped off the show twice, only to return. He pretended to be baptized by Baldwin, who's not a pastor. What a joke these people are. Hollywood can have them.

    I'm glad they're gone, and I hope for good. If they return, I'm not watching the show. They are brats and deserve each other.

    June 3, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. The Original No Incumbents 2010

    FORMER republican, NEVER again! June 3rd, 2009 5:35 pm ET
    Wonderful! Let's ban discrimination of all kinds!

    Does that include incest between two consenting adults?

    June 3, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Zoey

    Heidi and Spencer Pratt, or should I say Heidi and Spencer Bratt were just awful on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

    Spencer, what a pig. He fought with ONLY women, and really with one black woman – because he was too afraid to fight with guys. He said he wasn't going to do his share of the cleaning, especially after the black guy. He stomped off the show twice, only to return. He pretended to be baptized by Baldwin, who's not a pastor. What a joke these people are. Hollywood can have them.

    I'm glad they're gone, and I hope for good. If they return, I'm not watching the show. They are brats and deserve each other.

    June 3, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. JediMasterMatt - Bethlehem, PA

    What is all this talk about putting people's civil rights to a popular vote?

    This issue (NH same-sex marriage law) does not affect ANYONE but gays and lesbians. If you are straight and against same-sex marriage, please just go about your daily business/life and leave us alone! This in no way concerns anyone except those who wish to marry.

    Conservatives can not cry now that they are unprotected from providing services to marry or officiate same-sex couples, so obviously now, there only argument is to throw religion into the mix...even though this subject is about CIVIL MARRIAGE not the religious joing of two people.

    June 3, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. SJ in SJ

    And tomorrow, the sun will come up again, and life will go on just fine.

    This is good news for gay couples, good news for anyone whose rights might be vulnerable someday, good news for patriotic Americans who believe in justice – and has no effect on anyone else.

    June 3, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Gene from Georgia

    Folks, take it from a recovering evangelical. When they say they "hate the sin but love the sinner"...they are lying through their teeth. Listen to them when they think they are among their own. Pure hatred.

    June 3, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Maybe if enough states go this route my state will be free of the "gays" who are not ashamed of their lives. I hope somewhere, at sometime, all homosexuals learn that they do not have to accept themselves, and that they can change if they want.

    June 3, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Carl W Smelcer

    Our country was based on christian beliefs and, lets face it, God has
    decleared homoswexuals, both male and female, as an obomanation.

    June 3, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. John

    This truly is a sad day for New Hampshire. The people would have voted no on this issue. The special interest groups are ruining this country. I applaud the people of California. Governor Lynch proved to be as spineless as expected. Even when he said he was against this issue and would not sign it. No issues like this should ever be determined without the vote4 of the people.

    June 3, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. Steve, Columbia SC

    Don't celebrate yet. The entire voting citizenry of New Hampshire hasn't had their say yet, and like all the other states who have had their citizens vote on it, same sex marriage went down in flames.

    The party ain't over yet.

    June 3, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. Amateur Hour

    To Carl from MI

    You are correct and after the 6th terror attack we should have sat idle and asked for another. Keep voting Democrat in MichiganI hear things are working out well for the state.

    June 3, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. New Era

    I'm a Democrat and I hate the way the Democrats are selling our moral down the toilet. Gov Lynch is an idiot!

    New Hampshire hasn't seen the last of it's judgment coming.

    One Man + One Woman = New Life

    One Man + One Man = Freak Show

    One Woman + One Woman = Freakier Show

    June 3, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Steve, Columbia SC

    Ryan in VA

    You obviously don't believe that marriage was created by God. In the end, there is a price to pay for that belief.

    June 3, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  14. Stan

    MJM says "I don"t care what any of you think, people were not made home-sexuels, cause God don't make mistakes. "

    Then how do you explain the platypus? And learn to spell before spewing your hate you good little Christian soldier.

    June 3, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. JediMasterMatt - Bethlehem, PA

    Jon in CA:

    What is it exactly that you are preserving? Heterosexual couples have been damaging the institution of marriage for years. I believe the success rate of a 'straight' marriage is what, 50/50 or even worse these days....it doesn't seem to me that you are preserving anything by divorcing, getting married, and divorcing again, and getting married again....or getting married on a whim in Vegas!

    By allowing same-sex couples to marry does not do anything to your marriage or the marriages of anyone else. All California is doing is legalizing discrimination against gays and lesbians based soley on religious grounds even though this is a civil issue about CIVIL MARRIAGE, not the religious ceremony so many uninformed individuals are worried about 'preserving'.

    June 3, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. The Musician

    I don't get it. Why do people have issues with same-sex marriage if it won't effect any religious organizations at all? I mean passed that it can not hurt anyone at all! Finally we are getting rights we deserve!

    June 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. Sami

    Marriage cannot be both a legal and a religious institution. Based on the principles of this country, it has to be one or the other. If everyone in this country wants to continue to experience the social and financial benefits of marriage–which have nothing to do with religion–then, legally, any two consenting adults should have the right to get married. If the majority of individuals would rather defend the "sanctity" of marriage, then the right thing to do would be to nullify marriage altogether and, in its place, create civil unions for everyone, which would ensure equal rights and benefits for all.

    June 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Pete

    The anti-gay marriage crowd literally cannot come up with an arugment against gay marriage that isn't based primarily in their religious beliefs. In fact, many of the arguments they put forth that allegedly disqualify gay couples from marriage are standards that many STRAIGHT couples couldn't achieve either.

    The big one I'm talking about is having children. Unless you're willing to deny marriage to the infertile, that is.

    June 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. LacrosseMom

    WOW....... Limbaugh-the-comedian and the rest of the GOPers will be birthing cows just about now!

    June 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. Stop whinning and stand for something R's

    MJM... I dont follow your line of thinking.

    It sounds like God only made people attracted to people that they can make children with. So how do explain woman that have gone through menopause still being attracted to there husband. Should they get divorced since they cant have children anymore? Should a man who has a low sperm count be denied the right to marry? Please explain why it is only people who can make children together be entitled to marry.

    June 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  21. Juan

    Hey Carl say hi to your boyfriend for me.

    June 3, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. Ant

    Equality sounds nice =]

    June 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  23. Bill in CA

    You know Civil rights is a wonderful thing. But even at the core of the gay marriage debate is another one fighting to break free.

    Saying marriage = 1 man + 1 woman bans gay marriage. But is ALSO bans polygamy. A neat trick that keeps several thousand multiple marriage relationships from forming legally. One man and many women, one woman and many men, Many of each. Why not? It is even endorsed Biblically. All the Old testament patriarchs had many wives, right back to Abraham.

    The US effective forced Mormonism to change away from polygamy so Utah could join the Union in the 1890s. Their right to free worship forced to change for political gain. Its been going on for a LOOOONNGGG time.

    June 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  24. arithmetic is liberal

    Jon in CA June 3rd, 2009 5:50 pm ET

    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!

    Time is on our side. The next time this is brought to popular vote, most of the people in favor of Prop 8, the elderly, will have both feet in the grave instead of just one.

    June 3, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. Ginger Lee

    Yay for NH!

    US Constitutional Amendment 14- Section 1:

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    June 3, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
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