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. Matt

    It's called Representative Democracy. Look it up.

    June 3, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. JT, Seattle


    Thank you so much. The ignorance and bigotry that people like you exhibit are part of what makes it so easy for people to accept gay marriage. They see how stupid your side sounds, and it just opens the door for progress.

    So, please, don't change one word and continue to shout it from the highest rooftops. You will ensure other states approve it that much sooner.

    The gay community thanks you more than you can possibly understand!

    June 3, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    @ L Rivera, who said "Another hot-issue law imposed without the vote of the citizens."

    1. They were REPRESENTED by the legislators who they voted into office.

    2. CA's nonsense WILL be overturned. The primary reason the Constitutions exists is to protect the minority from the tyrrany of the majority, specifically in recognition that in a democracy where everyone is given a vote, abuse of that right to vote may take the form of oppression. You can no more vote away the inalienable human right to equal treatment under our laws, i.e., to enjoy the legal benefits of a government recognized loving and committed relationship, such as a deduction from federal taxes, than you could vote away the inalienable human right for African Americans to vote. If you think that's not true, just keep in mind that if you're correct, you might be next...after all, conservatives and those who call themselves Republicans are nowhere near in the majority.

    June 3, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Amanda

    Who marries whom, when and how is none of my business.

    June 3, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. Bryan

    Six down...44 to go!!

    June 3, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. history repeats


    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.

    you dont seem to know how to spell them either. go to school!!

    June 3, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. ike

    And they continued down a downward path!!!!!!!!!!

    June 3, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    @ No Incumbents 2010, who said "The government should get out of the marriage business entirely and call all unions "civil unions" regardless of same-sex or opposite-sex."

    Couldn't agree with you more. Either marriage inherently possesses religious connotations and principles and therefore should not be something incorporated into our secular laws OR our secular laws regarding "marriage" must be interpreted to be devoid of any religious connotations whatsoever...no matter what language is used to descibe the relationship. The First Amendment is crystal clear. I'm pretty sure the neocon fundies don't want to relinquish their tax bennies tho, so this really has only one practical outcome.

    June 3, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. Robert

    L Rivera said:

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

    Actually, equality is a birthright in this country. It was never appropriate to have it put up to vote anywhere – California, Florida, or any of the other states which decided everyone had to have a say first in whether gay citizens should have equal opportunity under the law.

    Equality is already the law, and the Defense of Marriage Act and all the state bans on gay marriage are completely unconstitutional and will overturned eventually.

    June 3, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    All Americans deserve equal rights under the constitution. It's only a matter of time before the majority of states have it legalized. I say by 2030

    June 3, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. TxHouse

    Any ideas on which states will follow?

    June 3, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. witch

    Way to go Carl from MI Love your comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 3, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. strictly straight

    "Congratulations", New Hampshire, on becoming the next state to destroy the sanctity of marriage!
    There's much more to this then gay couples having the legal right to marry. Do you want your child's 1st grade curriculum equating a heterosexual marriage with that of Adam and Steve's?? These folk won't stop at anything less than that–perhaps we start a straight-pride parade to promote our believes! On second thought, maybe not, because that what is inherently obvious needs no stuffing into someone else's face!

    June 3, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. S. in Florida

    A recent poll concluded that the majority who support torture are evangelical Christians. Judging from the posts left by this same group on various blogs of the same-sex marriage topic, I definitely can see the correlation!

    June 3, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. Independant

    This is not good the family. When can 3 people get married? When can adults starting killing their children after they are born? People think morals are derived from man made law. Not so. Are country is in a moral decline of the "feel good, do it", "any hole will do". I'm still praying because we know, as the bible says, in the end good wins..;)

    June 3, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. Timothy Hamaker

    Another step towards equality! Now I am an equal person in 6 states 🙂

    June 3, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Hellokitti

    The very first line in the Bill of Rights states that "there shall be no law respecting the establishment of a religion". As the bible contains such heinous endorsements of slavery, genocide, child murder, rape and incest, I would be darn careful about citing a judeo-christian justification for anything. Over time we realized that these things were unethical and illegal, and so is condemning gay people. If there is a heaven, you so called "religious" people are going to have more to answer for than anyone else for your judgement of others.

    June 3, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. James

    Way to go NH! And New England for that matter! We are looking to you to lead the way...California is obviously lagging and cannot be seen as a bright blub anymore.

    I second the Leviticus comments. When people start burning animals to God, stop eating lobster/shrimp/etc, and stop wearing mixed fabric clothing, I'll start listening to the argument against being born gay.


    June 3, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. NYC is NEXT!!

    Congrats New Hampshire! The NYC vote is coming up soon!

    June 3, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. Steve

    Another domino fallen. Let that be a message to the bigots: Gavin Newsom was right.

    Whether you like it or not.

    June 3, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  21. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    The language was addded to protect religious institutions from being forced to give same sex married couples the same benefits and considerations as heterosexual couples.

    June 3, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  22. Minnesota Man

    I almost want to marry another guy just to shove it in the face of the hate-mongering, uneducated conservatives....

    June 3, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Pragmatic

    There were Biblical quotes and people using them to "prove" the Bible was for slavery, against blacks voting, against women voting, against interracial marriage ... and even against the ERA! The old folk are heading to their just rewards and the younger people don't care who marries who. In a couple of decades, this issue will just be a curious footnote in history.

    June 3, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  24. xrk9854

    Yay! I am so proud of my state today! Equal rights for all!

    June 3, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. Cowgirl in North Texas

    Well, this is excellent news. Though, really this shouldn't even be an issue... but for some reason the majority of "educated" voters, as history has shown, have a seriously warped view on social issues and justice. Oh well, hopefully Texas will follow suit within the next 20 years (though that's still idealistic thinking at best...)

    June 3, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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