May 20th, 2009
07:05 PM ET
14 years ago

New Hampshire same-sex marriage bill hits snag

(CNN) - New Hampshire's move to become the most recent state to legalize same-sex marriage hit a road bump Wednesday, after the legislature's House of Representatives failed to agree to changes made by the governor.

Both the House and Senate already had approved allowing gay couples to marry.

But Gov. John Lynch, a three-term Democrat, said last week he would sign a same-sex marriage bill only if it provides "the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions."

Lynch said any such measure needs to "make clear that (clergy and other religious officials) cannot be forced to act in ways that violate their deeply held religious principles."

The House on Wednesday fell just two votes short of approving Lynch's language, 186-188.

The chamber then voted to send the legislation to a committee to be considered further.

The language would specify that religious organizations can decline to take part in any marriage ceremony without incurring fines or risking lawsuits.

New Hampshire's movement in the gay marriage debate is part of a flurry of recent activity surrounding the issue.

On May 6, same-sex marriage became legal in Maine, as Gov. John Baldacci signed a bill less than an hour after the state legislature approved it.

The District of Columbia voted May 5 to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, though it does not itself give marriage licenses to gay or lesbian couples.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. David Paterson introduced legislation in April to make same-sex marriage legal in the Empire State. A similar bill died in the state Senate in 2007.

Iowa's Supreme Court ruled unanimously on April 3 that it is illegal to discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them the right to marry. The first gay marriages in the state took place April 27.

A total of four states - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Iowa - currently allow same-sex marriages. A Vermont law making gay and lesbian marriages legal takes effect in September.

California's state Supreme Court issued a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in May 2008, and some 18,000 gay and lesbian couples got married in the Golden State. But California voters in November approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to ban gay marriage.

That state's high court heard arguments earlier this year about whether Proposition 8 was itself constitutional. It has not yet issued a verdict.

A slim majority of Americans are against legal recognition for same-sex marriage, CNN polling found last month. Fifty-four percent of adults questioned in an April 23-26 nationwide CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said that marriages between gay or lesbian couples should not be recognized as valid, while 44 percent said they should be considered legal.

But there was a huge gap between the opinions of younger and older people, with younger people far more likely to approve of gay marriage. Nearly six in 10 people ages 18 to 34 said same-sex marriages should be legal. Just over four in 10 people ages 35 to 49 agreed, and the number was similar for 50- to 64-year olds. Only 24 percent of people 65 and older agreed.

The survey's sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: New Hampshire • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. paul (staunch Moderate)

    They should approve the change in language of this bill; but it really isn't necessary. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedom to worship as we see fit. No church or organized religion would be forced into performing any ceremony it did not want to (and remember – in the church it is only a ceremony because the churches do no tissue licenses).

    May 20, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. ron

    Marriage is between a man and a women ,no one can rewrite the rules of biology.

    May 20, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. typical!!

    Yes, the Gov is right....churches and other forms of organized religions should still have the right to spread thier hate, vile, and bigotry without compromising thier tax excempt status. Its what its all about......$$.,...and the ability to HATE while standing behind thier bibles.

    May 20, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. ron

    Shame on the New Hampshire legislature for promoting unnatural marrige.It is a major threat to traditional marriage and violates Gods plan for the family.I will have to put New Hampshire on my list of places not to travel to.The radical gays are forcing their agenda on us and we need to stand up and voice our values of marriage between a man and a women.

    May 20, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    Marriage should be illegal for everyone. Nothing has caused more pain and suffering than the institution of marriage.

    May 20, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  6. The Broker.

    International Wire colourings....

    May 20, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Naqib

    Don't see that as a bad thing... Don't know who would want an unwilling minister anyway

    May 20, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. pam Eugene OR

    The Limbaugh article is closed for comments. I want to say if Colin Powell were to start a third party he would have my support. I voted for President Obama because the Republicans did not give me a choice. There are a lot of center leaning Democrats and Republicans who could easily form a majority party. I think by 2012 the country will be ready for that and General Powell is the perfect person. If he had wanted it he could have been the first black President.

    May 20, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Republicans are Nazis

    "with younger people far more likely to approve of gay marriage"
    I am 33 and a democrat and never agreed on homosexual marrige. Be happy, do as you wish, some great people are gay, but marriage, it should be called something else, instead of matramoney call it homomoney or homoiage. It is time to give them their own kind of union. And keep the man woman thing separate.

    May 20, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. oldtimer

    The lord is waiting for all you sinners.

    May 20, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. Mike in NYC

    The protection provisions are clearly pro-tolerance and pro-diversity. Tolerant of deeply-held religious beliefs and mindful of the diversity of opinions on this contentious subject.

    Oh, wait ... I forgot. "Tolerance" and "diversity" shall only be interpreted in manners benefiting protected - that is to say, officially promoted - groups. Silly me.

    May 20, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  12. President George Hussien Washington

    Rush Limbutt and Dick Chains-ey should join hands and move here. "colin Powell has never won nothing" em, em, em What war did you or chaney fight in, Remember all you bigots: General Powell is the only one that really fought for you!

    May 20, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. WIlly Brown


    May 20, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  14. Rich, Englewood, NJ

    The governor fails to note that for some of us progressive Christians, the state's ban on gay marriage forces us to violate our deeply held religious principles that say that any two persons who are willing to covenant before God to live a life of love should be permitted to do so. His so-called "protections" for religious only protect conservative religious institutions. Progressive religious institutions are presently hindered by the law, but that's okay with him.

    May 20, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  15. Louis and Jean-Marie in New Orleans

    Resolve it already! The bill should pass with same provisions set forth in CT. What is the problem?

    Let's keep progressing!

    May 20, 2009 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. Mohamud

    Lynch is positive and without objecting to the gay rights, he says let us put into law that religious leaders have the right to decide what marriage they will approve without being sued. It's fairness and justice for all. Simply Lynch says "let us keep the homos happy, and let us give our religious leaders their choice to participate what they value as a marriage and avoid lawsuits.

    May 20, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  17. TCM

    it should. The country's center-right, and is tired of tolerating this morally wrong and deviant behavior.

    May 20, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |