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. mike

    If the people of a state voted for slavery would that make it legal.Just because more innocent lives are lost due to religion should it be bannned.Just because the catholic church for centuries harbored the longest child molestion ring in history should it be banned.If Hypocracy was a natiion I bet I know who would be in it.religious nuts,Pro-Life killers,republicans.

    June 3, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  2. Nick in Hawaii

    If you don't like gay marriage, then don't get one. It's as simple as that.

    June 3, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. joe smith

    has any one noticed, oil stands at $68.00/barrel. on January 20th, 2009 it was at $32.00/barrel..undoubtedly this will make it more costly to get to the court house to get your marriage licences there in N.H.

    June 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Kyle Muncie, Indiana

    GO NEW HAMPSHIRE! Congrats!

    June 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. David

    To L. Rivera - You need to go back to civics class. We don't have a government by plebecite. We have a representative democracy. America is founded on the basis of a representative government. We send our representatives to city council chambers, state houses, and the U.S. Congress to make considered votes on our behalf. In America we do not subject every last little thing to a popular referendum. The state and federal legislatures vote FOR us. That's government in America. Don't like how your representatives are voting, then you have the right to try to vote them out in the next election. But until then, try to understand that what you are asking for is NOT the American form of government.

    June 3, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. Buzz Daly

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

    Citizens have no business voting on issues that result in discrimination against a fellow citizen. Civil rights and equal protection under the law are too precious for a popularity contest.

    The Constitution's job is to protect its citizens from the tyranny of the majority, not allow a vote on not allowing a fellow citizen a right you enjoy yourself.

    Sorry, that's just how it works in a Free Nation.

    Get over it.

    June 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. Richie


    June 3, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Buzz Daly

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

    Godfigures exist only in the minds of those who choose to believe in them. They are fantasy, therefore, they don't "make" anything.

    Just for the record, anyone who quotes Leviticus as a authority on this subject sanctions the murder of a fellow human. Leviticus is the most vile piece of crap ever written.

    Please grow up and think for yourself.

    June 3, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. Mark C.

    So easy to talk about putting someone ELSE'S liberties, rights and protections to a "popular vote" when you don't have anything at stake at all, huh Cowboy?

    Don't like same-sex marriage? Don't have one, attend a church that doesn't perform them. Simple as that.

    Congrats to the free, equal citizens of NH!

    June 3, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. Hans Brecker RI

    Now you can leave Provincetown alone !!! Go to NH

    June 3, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I don't even know what the marital status of my neighbors are. I don't see how that affects me at all. I'm just glad to see discrimination slowing going away. Thank goodness, the next generations will not even remember racial or sexual discrimination. Even at 52, I was just a small child when the schools were intergrated. Some of my best friends are black. That's just the difference of one generation.

    June 3, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. John From NH

    Live free or die isn't just our state motto. We mean it. Quite frankly, good for us.

    June 3, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  13. E.L.

    Sometimes the will of the people is in grave error.....Congratulations New Hamsphire on affording equality to all of your citizens despite a very slim tyrranical majority. What is right is right!

    June 3, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. John Poggendorf; Prescott, AZ



    NEW HAMPSHIRE ROCKS!!! ( oh....did I really say that?)

    And as for whatever the people think, THIS ISN'T THEIR CALL! This is simply, absolutely, totally and unequivocally an issue of EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW.....and up to now the same-sex community has been specifically singled out for a lack of that primal constitutional guarantee.

    Repeat after me: Separate but Equal ISN"T! (see Brown -v- Board of Education, Topeka)

    June 3, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. Stuart

    To MJM:

    Please never tell me or anyone else how I was born. I was born gay...am fine with it, too. Lead as fulfilling a life as my hetero friends.

    Let's look at it this way...if you think I made a 'choice'...then you made a 'choice', all things being equal.
    Tell me, when did you choose to be hetero?

    Hallelujah NH. 6 down, 44 to go.

    June 3, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Peter

    Good for you New Hampshire! Soon all 50 states will approve of this basic civil right, hopefully I'll see it in my life time...

    June 3, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. Unreal

    It is amazing that in today's society we are still having this debate. MJM, First, marriage stops being a religious matter when the state grants rights and privileges to married couples not afforded to others. Second, why do you care if two consenting adults want to get married? Do you really think it is going to impact heterosexual couples? The only possible way it would impact others is if we took away the stigmatism of being gay and help those hiding to feel free to be what god made them. And MJM if there is a god, I agree he didn’t make mistakes, if you still believe someone would chose a lifestyle filled with challenges and ridicule from many in society than that is just sad. God didn’t make mistakes only the people who interpret his words made mistakes and boy do they ever! The nice thing is that every poll out there shows that the younger generations overwhelmingly support gay rights so someday, hopefully soon, this will simply be another shamefully part of our history that we hopefully can learn from.

    June 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  18. Daniel in MO

    This is good news! When my husband and I went to Massachusetts to get married we had the option of flying into New Hampshire at a cheaper rate and renting a car out of New Hampshire for a cheaper rate, and probably would have eaten something before heading to Massachusetts had we decided to fly into New Hampshire, but we chose to fly into Boston to support the economy of Massachusetts instead, because that was the state, after all, that was affording us our civil right to marriage. Today, we would have chosen New Hampshire instead. Actually, more likely Iowa, since we live in Missouri. Congratulations New Hampshire!

    June 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. Jackson

    L Rivera,

    Just because you are against it, that doesn't mean you get to complain about the lack of public vote. Certain rights should not be put to a public vote. I wonder, would you be ok with voters getting to decide if certain ethnic minorities were allowed to, say, still get the right to vote? Would you be ok if it went to a public vote that marriage of any kind should no longer exist? Should we vote on whether women can keep the right to vote?

    No, you see, certain rights do not get to be put to a public vote. Boo hoo that you don't get your way, but no one ever gets everything they want, so find a way to cope.

    June 3, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. travis

    so if people of california want too keep marriage as 1 man and 1 woman then fine do it but doesn't the bible also say u can't get divorced or am i reading the right one ( there are so many ) if people want too put religon into everything then let get down too get eye for an eye if someone hurts u hurt them back but then u have too turn your cheek so which is it ? MAKE DIVORCE ILLEGAL then that way no can can say anything about legalize gay marriage again ( or that is right does fit them ) that would be wrong hmmmm everyone has an opoinion but if im almost sure seperation of CHURCH AND STATE IS SOMEWHERE.........

    June 3, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. Peter

    God said we are all equal....We all should be treated equal....Thats includes homosexuals. Read the bible, believe me, Jesus believes gay marriage is perfectly fine. If you are this concerned about an issue which most likely won't affect you unless you know someone who is gay, then you should burn in hell for taking basic rights away from others. The California vote was out of fear, it won't happen again.

    June 3, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. JT, Seattle

    L Rivera,

    You know there was a time in this country when interracial marriage wasn't allowed. Those laws were struck down without a public vote. I wonder how many more years it would have stayed illegal if the public vote got to decide it. But, the laws were struck down, interracial couples started getting married, and civilization as we know it continued. And it continued just fine without a public vote, imagine that?????

    Sorry, some laws are for the courts decide whether you like it or not.

    June 3, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Zach K

    Propositions are bad due to the fact that the majority of the people are against such proposed measures and depend on religion and party bias to force the outcome.

    Congrats to NH, the law has been applied and the law states that love is unlimited.

    June 3, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. sh

    Another example that we are heading for Doomsday !

    June 3, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. Tomkat

    Take gods out of everything and the problems begin to disappear. Free your minds.


    June 3, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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