New Hampshire Governor John Lynch has
signed a gay marriage bill into law, making the Granite State the
sixth U.S. state to grant gay and lesbian couples the right to marry,
“Today is a historic day for all
Granite Staters,” said Mo Baxley, executive director of the New
Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, in a statement. “Today, our
shared values of individual liberty, freedom, and fairness have been
Coverage: New Hampshire Poised to Pass Gay Marriage Bill
Lynch, a Democrat, signed the gay
marriage bill into law less than an hour after lawmakers gave final
approval of openly gay Representative Jim Splaine's bill.
In a surprising blow to opponents, the
bill picked up 11 additional nods from lawmakers: 1 senator and 10
Senators approved the bill early in the
morning in a 14 to 10 vote that came along party lines with all
Democrats in support and all Republicans in opposition.
The House, which had earlier rejected a
bill that included the religious protections sought by Governor
Lynch, surprised everyone with a 198 to 176 endorsement.
Opponents, mostly socially conservative
religious groups, argued that gay marriage threatened “traditional
marriage.” Supporters called the bill a victory for civil rights.
“Gov. Lynch's signing of the marriage
equality bill grants legal protections for same-sex couples in New
Hampshire to take care and be responsible for each other,” said
Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD), in a statement. “As people get to know the
loving and committed couples at the heart of marriage equality, our
culture is moving to equality.”
New Hampshire is the fifth New England
state to legalize gay marriage, Rhode Island being the only holdout.
The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a gay marriage ban in April. Only
two other states – Maine and Vermont – have legalized gay
marriage legislatively, instead of by court order.
Last month, the California Supreme
Court upheld the constitutionality of a voter-approved gay marriage
ban which gay activists have vowed to repeal in 2010. A gay marriage
bill in New York appears to be stalling in the state Senate.
The New Hampshire law goes into effect