NH Governor to Sign Gay Marriage Bill, If Changed: What State is Next?

By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on May 15, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

New Hampshire's Democratic governor, John Lynch, is now indicating he will sign a gay marriage bill, if it is changed slightly. The hangup? Governor Lynch would like to see some protections for churches and employees that don't want to take part in any gay marriages. In other words, if the churches don't want to conduct any gay marriages, the law wouldn't force them to.

Gay marriage proponents indicated they approved the proposed changes, such as the executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, who said, "This is language we can support".

This all comes despite Lynch's previously stated opposition to gay marriage. What occasioned the change of heart? Lynch explained:

"Throughout history, our society's views of civil rightshave constantly evolved and expanded," Lynch told reporters. "New Hampshire's great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections."

Lynch said he personally opposes gay marriage, but decided to view the issue "through a broader lens."

The viewing lens might need to get broader and broader by the week too, it appears. Upon signing a revised bill, New Hampshire would become the fifth New England state to legalize gay marriage, with Rhode Island being the lone holdout in the region. At the same time, gay marriage appears to be making strides in New York, where the state's assembly passed a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state. However, the bill's future is uncertain in the State Senate, and actually may be a vote or two short of that necessary for passage. N.Y. Governor David Patterson, of course, is a strong supporter of gay marriage, having introduced a legalization bill earlier.

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