chelidon: (Greenhouse sun 2)
[personal profile] chelidon
I am proud of my state. And of northern New England in general, every single state of which has now passed a same-sex marriage law. "Live Free Or Die," indeed.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ New Hampshire legislators approved a measure Wednesday that would make the state the sixth to allow gay marriage, and Gov. John Lynch said he would sign it later in the afternoon.

He had promised a veto if the law didn't clearly spell out that churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate at gay marriages or provide other services.

The Senate passed the measure Wednesday, and the House _ where the outcome was more in doubt _ followed later in the day. The House gallery erupted in cheers after the 198-176 vote.

"If you have no choice as to your sex, male or female; if you have no choice as to your color; if you have no choice as to your sexual orientation; then you have to be protected and given the same opportunity for life, liberty and happiness," Rep. Anthony DiFruscia, R-Windham, said during the hourlong debate.

New Hampshire's law takes effect Jan. 1. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa already allow gay marriage, though Maine opponents hope to overturn that state's law with a public vote.

California briefly allowed gay marriage before a public vote banned it; a court ruling grandfathered in couples who were already married.

New Hampshire opponents, mainly Republicans, objected on grounds including the fragmented process that required three bills.

"It is no surprise that the Legislature finally passed the last piece to the gay marriage bill today. After all, when you take 12 votes on five iterations of the same issue, you're bound to get it passed sooner or later," said Kevin Smith, executive director of gay marriage opponent Cornerstone Policy Research.

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

Lynch said he would veto gay marriage if the law didn't address churches and religious groups.

The revised bill added a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage.

It also clarified that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same sex spouses of employees. The earlier version said "charitable and educational" instead of "charitable or educational."

The House rejected the language Lynch suggested two weeks ago by two votes. Wednesday's vote was on a revised bill negotiated with the Senate.

The vote was supporters' last chance this year in New Hampshire.

Date: 2009-06-03 10:26 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-06-03 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I very much understand your frustration, but I'll take any actual progress we can get, as opposed to all of the many U.S. states that passed anti-gay marriage laws. Each victory makes the rest more likely, so this is, I believe, progress for all, even if only one step along the journey.

The pace of justice may move at a crawl, but it does come, it can, it will. I do believe that, and this step strengthens my faith and my belief.

Date: 2009-06-03 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unfortunately, there's a history of deals whereby trans equality legislation is thrown out in order to pass gay equality legislation (see also: trans-inclusive ENDA). Which makes the "progress for all" thing a little bitter, as you can imagine...

Date: 2009-06-04 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Another reason I'm happy to be moving to NH very soon. :)

Date: 2009-06-04 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I knew it was coming up for a vote (again...for the fifth time, IIRC), but I've been away from the news today. I'm glad that Governor Lynch signed it this time.

Date: 2009-06-04 03:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You just made a perfect day even more perfect!!! Squeeee!!! Go New Hampshire!!!


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