John Lynch promptly signed the legislation, making the state the sixth to let gay couples wed. The bill had been through several permutations to satisfy Mr. Lynch and certain legislators that it would not force religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage to participate in ceremonies celebrating it. Some groups had feared they could be sued for refusing to allow same-sex weddings on their property.
Lawmakers approve same-sex marriage in N.H., Maine
New Hampshire Latest State To Allow Same-Sex Marriage - MTV
Supporters watch as Gov. John Lynch, D-N. Eight years after New Hampshire became one of the early states to legalize same-sex marriage, the institution seems to be in something of a slump: The number of same-sex marriages in the state has fallen by 50 percent since , declining in four out of the last five years. Last year, same-sex weddings made up about 3 percent of all weddings in the state, whereas back in they made up 6.
Same-sex marriages have declined in N.H. and neighboring states
On Wednesday, New Hampshire became the sixth state to allow gay couples to wed. The bill was passed after provisions requested by Lynch were added that ensured it would not force religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage to participate in ceremonies celebrating it. The original bill exempted members of the clergy from having to perform same-sex marriages, but Lynch said he would veto it unless language was added that would also exempt religious groups and their employees from having to take part in such ceremonies. Lynch had long supported civil unions for same-sex couples — which afford some, but not all, of the rights and responsibilities as marriage — but had not endorsed marriage for gay couples. In a statement following the signing of the bill, he said the arguments he heard in favor of full marriage rights for gays convinced him that "a separate system is not an equal system.
But Mo Baxley remembers a different time, when millions of dollars were spent by outside groups to try and oppose House Bill , the bill then-governor John Lynch would sign on June 3, , to make New Hampshire the fifth state with same-sex marriage rights. And after Lynch signed the bill — but before it went into effect on Jan. Jim Splaine, the Portsmouth legislator who sponsored HB with now-Somersworth mayor Dana Hilliard, was no stranger to contentious fights.