As New Hampshire Governor John Lynch becomes the final arbiter of a gay marriage bill legislators approved this week, groups on both sides of the issue are hard at work lobbying the Democrat.

House members gave Rep. Jim Splaine's gay marriage bill its final OK on Wednesday, paving the way for it to land on Lynch's desk. (A process that might take up to a week in New Hampshire.)

Last month, Vermont lawmakers stunned the nation when they legalized gay marriage over the objections of Governor Jim Douglas, becoming the first state to do so legislatively, instead of by court order.

Overriding a Lynch veto, however, does not appear to be in the cards for New Hampshire, where both chambers of the Legislature barely scratched up a majority.

The governor has stated in the past that he favors civil unions over marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Lawmakers approved civil unions for gay couples in 2007.

Lynch, however, has kept mum on whether he'll become the second governor after Maine's John Baldacci to sign a gay marriage bill or veto it.

In a newly launched ad by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), opponents say Lynch should keep his promise.

“For three elections, Governor Lynch has asked for our trust. He's repeatedly promised voters that he opposes gay marriage even when signing New Hampshire's civil union bill into law,” a male announcer says. “It's time for the governor to keep his word. Call governor Lynch to veto the same-sex marriage bill. Because in New Hampshire, keeping our word matters.”

“The people of New Hampshire are not clamoring for same-sex marriage,” said Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, in a statement announcing the new ad. “This is a divisive and polarizing effort driven by the need to play to the Democrats' donor base, not the will of the people. How much of a role did out-of-state money, and national pressure play in getting New Hampshire politicians to ignore the voters? It's a legitimate question people are asking.”

Gay activists are pressuring the governor as well. The New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition is sponsoring gay marriage rallies in three cities – Concord, Portsmouth and Hanover – on Saturday, and have prepared a new ad that urges the governor to sign the bill.

“Governor Lynch has an opportunity to protect all New Hampshire families and treat every committed couple equally,” a female voice says. “Call our governor and urge him to support civil marriage for all Granite Staters.”

Both camps have also delivered thousands of petitions to the governor's office on the issue.

In New Hampshire, gay marriage is in the hands of Lynch. He'll have five days to decide once the bill lands on his desk. He may choose to sign the bill into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. Either way, the popular governor appears to be politically safe.

“He's not in a position where it matters to him electorally,” Andy Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, told Seacoast Online. “He's got a 70-percent approval rating. He can say whatever. … If he signs it, the Republicans will gripe, but they have never been able to field a credible candidate against him. If he vetoes it, the Democrats are still going to vote for him [in 2010].”