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New Hampshire Legalizes Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

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By Nathan Black, Christian Post Reporter
June 3, 2009|6:30 pm

New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage on Wednesday.

Gov. John Lynch signed the bill, approving revisions that better protect religious institutions and their employees against lawsuits if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages.

The measure was passed by the Senate and House earlier today.

New Hampshire, which is traditionally conservative, now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine in allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

"Today, we're standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect under New Hampshire law," said Lynch, according to the Boston Globe.

Last month, Lynch said he would sign the same-sex marriage bill if the Legislature added clearer language stating that religious organizations and individuals working with such institutions cannot be forced to sanction same-sex weddings under the law.

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Although legislative leaders were expected to quickly adopt the changes, the state House voted against the revisions.

Today, the House voted 198-176 to pass a newly revised bill, which specifies that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage.

It also states 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.

Lynch has expressed support for traditional marriage but said he decided to view the issue "through a broader lens," as reported by The Associated Press.

Traditional marriage supporters have accused Lynch of using the proposal for revisions as a smokescreen to change his mind.

 

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