New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed legislation yesterday that legalizes same sex marriage in the state. Despite passage in the state House in March and Senate in April, it had been unclear whether Governor Lynch would sign such a bill given his past opposition to same sex marriage.
Lynch signed the legislation after a compromise bill addressing his concerns was passed by the state legislature. The compromise legislation states, among other provisions, that “Each religious organization, association, or society has exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, teachings, and beliefs regarding who may marry within their faith.”
Prior to signing the bill, Governor Lynch said “Today we’re standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect under New Hampshire law….But we are also standing up for religious liberties,” reported the Boston Globe.
New Hampshire became the seventh state to legalize civil unions in 2007 and is the sixth state to legalize same sex marriage in the United States after Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine. Similar legislation is currently under consideration in New York.