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

NH governor signs same-sex marriage into law


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/31/nevada.domestic.partnerships/art.nevadamarry.gi.jpg caption="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. videodrome

    It just amazes me that the people that argue against "activist judges" and "judges legislating from the bench" will now argue against state politicians "legislating".
    The truth of the matter is, these conservatives ONLY want people to see the world according to how they see it. So now we have the N.H. legislatures doing their "legislating". Kind of ironic, isn't it??
    Oh by the way, conservatives, what is the new argument going to be now??

    June 3, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  2. Michael ONeal

    "The Catholics will burn in hell for their idolatry"-a Protestant. "The Protestants will burn in hell for their heresy"-a Catholic. "The Mormons will burn in hell for their polygamy"- Everyone else. "Jews will burn in hell for their rejection of christ/islam" (insert your faith here). "Gays will burn in hell for their perversion"- a Heterosexual.

    Well, if gays are going to burn they're going to have a hell of a lot of company ! And since all of these other hell bound people get civil rights in the meantime... gays should too!

    June 3, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  3. James

    This state has a bunch of sick people. Things such as this occur for several reasons and the two biggest are to get votes or get elected.

    This is a sick state of mind!

    June 3, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  4. Donnie

    You people are missing the point. It's not the massive debt that George Bush caused, nor the two illegal wars, nor the fact that he caused the "enron economy", twice taking down the stock market of an otherwise prosperous country during his reign that people should be the MOST concerned with, it's the alarming and questionable legislature that he snuck through while America was in a time of fear and tribulation. Legislature that should have never passed. Legislation he snuck through that systematically takes away rights of every day citizens like you and me. Legislation that goes against everything this great country was built upon. Illegal wiretapping is one thing. But there are a lot worse things than that that he passed into Law.

    June 3, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  5. Texas Democrat

    Equality for ALL!

    June 3, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  6. Maria

    Great news for Gay and Lesbian couples. Now they have a place they can migrate to if their own state doesn't feel the same way.

    June 3, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. Walker

    GREAT....it's about time we stop letting religion be our excuse to spread bigotry.

    June 3, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  8. Walker

    It's about time that we stop using religion as an excuse to spread bigotry.

    June 3, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  9. Religious Equality

    How about religious equality for Muslims and Mormons who are allowed by their faith to have more than one wife? Islam allows a man to have up to 4 wives.

    June 3, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  10. Maximus

    I do think that if gay marriage becomes legal in this country as a whole, those persons who view it as a purely religious sacrament will lobby successfully for a new definition of their union to provide a cultural distinction between a secular marriage (which could include homosexual marriage) and the sacrament. "Religious marriage" "Biblical Marriage" "Koranical Marriage" take your pick. States like mine, Tennessee, will probably be the first to write the law and offer a stipend to those that choose to do it over secular marriage (they already cut a break for those that attend pre-marriage counseling).

    June 3, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  11. sandy

    If God had intended two people of the same sex to marry, He would not have made a man and a woman in the beginning. Do you see
    two bulls or two cows mating? Birds, etc. Two people of the same
    sex cannot have children. These are choices by these people, not
    the way God intended it to be. Our elected people should have to pay
    for all the wrong decisions they make.

    June 3, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  12. Scott from Canada

    Well done NH! Only 44 states to go. Trust me America when I tell you that legalizing gay marriage and ending discrimination against gay people will not have any affect on you whatsoever. We did it here in Canada a few years back and the only people who noticed any difference the morning after were gay people. Seriously, you will not be affected by this type of legislation in the slightest. You can still go to church, home school your kids or do whatever it is you like. This does not take away any of your freedoms whatsoever, it only benefits a disenfranchised group.

    June 3, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  13. UVM Student

    just a note – vermont holds the title incorrectly given in the article to NH and Maine as "the only states in the nation where representatives elected by voters approved same-sex marriage legislation."

    Codification of a court ruling notwithstanding, it was VT whose legislative branch was the first statewide elected body in the US to weigh in in favor of same-sex marriage.

    June 3, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  14. Philamena

    NH8!! Make love not war on the bed not the floor! Way to go NH dignity and respect for all!!

    June 3, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  15. Charles Leutzinger MD

    The people through their elected representatives voted today to push aside years of state sanctioned discrimination. It's actually insulting to think that our long-term committed stable relationships should need to be approved by a majority vote.

    So when do we get to vote on YOUR marriage?

    June 4, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  16. Dino, Washington, D.C.

    BRAVO!!! Wunderbar Governor Lynch!!! I believe the New Hampshire state motto is "live free or die". The state of NH has lived up to that state adage!!!!

    June 4, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. Vermonter

    This article is factually incorrect. The decision of the Vermont Supreme Court in Baker v. State in 2000 did not require the state to allow gay marriage, and the law passed by the state's legislature in 200 to comply with that ruling provided for civil unions only. In 2009, Vermont became the first state to approve gay marriage by a legislative vote without being required to by the state's supreme court. Vermont remains the only state to pass a gay marriage law over the governor's veto, which demonstrates the strong mandate in the state for recognizing the rights of same-sex couples.

    June 4, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  18. Allan

    My US flag now has 6 stars!

    Only 44 more to go, then it will be the same as yours.

    June 4, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  19. The black spider

    When Don't you legalized mariage among sibblings or polygamy or marriage betwen father and daughter or son and mom when you are at it.
    Sick people.

    June 4, 2009 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  20. ctryman

    Ok marriage has nothing to do with procreating, look at OCTOMOM she isn't married to procreat 14 children , look at Palins daughter she had a child outside of marriage and is still not married!

    MArriage has never been a religous matter, you get a license from the state, you get divorced from the state all the churches do is charge you money to bless the union if I remember correctly Jesus didn't charge for any services he performed!

    June 4, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  21. Kris

    MJM needs a spell check and some reality check while at it. Bigoted and prejudiced folks mustn't speak of equality and protecting marriage. How is a same-sex couple going to hurt a heterosexual marriage? It just doesn't make sense.

    June 4, 2009 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  22. alejandro gomez

    Whenever a Goverment allows Individuals to commit a sin then this becomes a Social sin and we all are responsible for it. Oh people of Sodoma & Gomorra

    June 4, 2009 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
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