May 14th, 2009
04:32 PM ET
11 years ago

NH governor offers to sign same-sex marriage into law

(CNN) - New Hampshire Gov. Jon Lynch said Thursday that he will sign into law a bill allowing same-sex couples to wed - but only after the state legislature agrees to his terms.

"This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions," he said in a statement. "This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions.

"...But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals."

Lynch said if the state legislature passes the new language, he will sign the bill into law. Otherwise, he will veto the measure.

"We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity," he said. "I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it."

Lynch said he has spent the past weeks and months speaking to lawmakers, religious leaders and constituents in order to form his decision after New Hampshire's Legislature voted to approved same-sex marriages in the state.

The Granite State will, if approved by the governor, become the sixth state in the nation - alongside Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont - to provide marriage benefits to gays and lesbians.

"Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change," he said.

"I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families."

Filed under: New Hampshire • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Dace Tucson

    Wow could the extremist right wing religious groups be down on cash? They have used their tax exempt status for decades to buy elections of hate and ignorance – just last year the Mormon church bought several elections to dehumanize and discriminate against gays. I guess we will see their unlimited money and power next year to force their religious beliefs on the rest of America as usual – so you few gays that are enjoying being free humans that are equal citizens beware – big hate money is just around the corner.

    May 14, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. David Holland

    First let me say that Huston4567 is way out of line to suggest that same-sex orientation makes people animals.

    As for Gov. Lynch's position, it is a needless diversion from doing what is right. No same-sex legislation in the country would require any religious institution to perform same-sex ceremonies, nor could they, given the First Amendment protections. There is no language needed to protect religious institutions when the Constitution already provides that protection.

    On the other hand, if the added language would only re-iterate what is already constitutionally protected, it does no harm to add it. If that's what it takes to get Lynch to sign it, the legislature should add a clause making it clear that no religious institutions would have to perform such ceremonies and get it to his desk with all due haste. Challenge him to be a man of his word and see what happens.

    May 14, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Lucas F. in Scottsdale, AZ

    Right on New Hampshire!! Lets keep this momentum going.
    And I think what he means by the language "protecting gays as well as religious institutions" is probably something along the lines of allowing gays to marry, but giving churches the freedom not to perform same-sex marriages if it conflicts with it's doctrine on homosexuality.

    Hopefully AZ will follow suit soon, as New England is realizing, it doesn't matter how most people think. It is discrimination to refuse marriage to homosexuals. At one time, the majority of the population thought it was perfectly OK to own slaves, as well as prohibit inter-racial marriage, and that didn't make those practices "OK".

    May 14, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. oliviadkf

    I don't care either way, I don't think any of you guys should either, it's none of our business.

    May 14, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Ken in Albany

    After the bill is signed by this governor a funny thing will happen. Babies will continue to be born. Straight people will still be just as married as they were before he signed the bill. My brother, mother, and father will still be the same.

    In case anybody forgot basic biology human being are animals., in fact they are classified as mammals. And too won't change after the signing.

    The one thing that will change is that EVERYONE will be a bit more equal under the eyes of that state law. The government will have become a bit less intrusive into those people's lives just as the Republicans stated was one of their planks.

    May 14, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. JediMasterMatt

    Go ahead and give the religious institutions all those protections they want as long as I can marry anyone I want and get the SAME rights as a heterosexual couple!

    Religious institutions have cast gays as outcasts since the beginning, who needs a RELIGIOUS marriage ceremony anyway....just give me a 'civil' marriage ceremony.

    May 14, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  7. OldUncleTom

    I don't know NH law, so I cannot judge whether language protecting the religious institutions in that state is or is not necessary.

    Of course, no church or religious organization should ever be forced to perform or honor (in the spiritual, not civil, sense) a marriage that violates their teachings and beliefs.

    The marriage that we are talking about is civil marriage, the kind that states care about. In that sense of the word, discrimination against one group of consenting adults violates American principles, and needs to be corrected.

    May 14, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  8. Gareth

    Isn't it John Lynch, not Jon.

    May 14, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. Ennis, LA

    Every state that has the freedom to vote rejected gay marriage, which
    is, in fact, a form of pluralism. Boss-driven states in the northeast
    fear direct democracy , and, therefore, the activist-militants buy the
    votes of cloak-room politicians. What else is new?

    May 14, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. CGeaux

    I can't wait to marry my fiance and her girlfriend. They are hot.

    May 14, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. Joe

    I can care less if gays want to unite and have the same benefits as straight people. My problem is don't take a right away from one group and give it to another. That is not America. Christians believe that marriage is between a man and a women so why not let them just have that whether you believe it or not. Give the gays something else. I mean they are suppose to be creative people, why do they have to steal from a religious group who basically started marriage? Makes no sense. No sex, religion, nationality, race, etc. should ever have their tradition taken away EVER. I don't care who agrees with it or not.

    May 14, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. Jim in San Jose

    Thank you New Hampshire. Another state in the common sense column. Churches will not have to perform same sex weddings unless they wish to. Marriage will not be devalued (never heard a reason explanation why this could possibly be true anyway).

    Religious conservatives can scream all they want, but they can't prove that the sky has fallen in Massachusetts where same-sex marriage has been available for five years. For most people it's a non issue. Let's keep it that way.

    May 14, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  13. Julia

    It is people like Eric in NJ that make this debate over same-sex marriage so hateful and complicated. Whether you are religious or not, the entire concept surrounding it is tolerance of others' beliefs. So by saying that someone's religious beliefs are wrong, you are just as dispicable as a discriminatory homophobe.

    May 14, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. jacksonville85

    This is a very positive step towards establishing full Civil Rights for every individual in the nation. I applaud Gov. Lynch for supporting the bill and hope that the other 44 states follow suit shortly after. I am proud to live in a nation that was based on supporting individual liberty! God bless the USA!

    May 14, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  15. DinWashington

    What is the "new language" Gov. Jon Lynch wants to see?

    This is pretty empty reporting – I would hope for a little more substance with a headline like that.

    May 14, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. frank, pennsylvania

    Hurrible! why are our elected officials pushing the course of moral decadence too far!

    May 14, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. Larry

    HIS ... terms ...

    F - CK HIM ...

    May 14, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. Neil

    Another nail in the GOP coffin. Sounds like the Governor is trying to keep his job. It's sad, really. Even when one of them says "yes" it turns into a big "NO" for the Party. RIP GOP.

    May 14, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. P from CA

    NH gov does say what his "language" is that he wants changed. It is a separation of church/state. ALL so called marriages should be changed to civil unions. If people want the blessing/sacrament of marriage added to their civil status let them seek that through their church.

    May 14, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. please

    Aaron Seattle May 14th, 2009 5:33 pm ET

    Phoenix: You really need to update your understanding on sodomy laws bucko.
    Aaron – don't bother – I look for Phoenix's posts for amusement purposes only – they are kinda funny and sad at the same time.

    May 14, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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