[JURIST] The New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] voted Thursday to approve a bill [HB 436 text] that would permit same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] in the state. The bill passed by a vote of 186-179, and now moves on to the New Hampshire State Senate [official website]. If approved by the Senate and signed into law by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (D) [official website], the bill would "eliminate the exclusion of same gender couples from marriage, affirm religious freedom protections of clergy with regard to the solemnization of marriage, and provide a mechanism by which same gender couples who have entered into a civil union prior to the enactment of this bill may obtain the legal status of marriage." The New Hampshire House vote was met with derision [New Hampshire Union-Leader report] from New Hampshire Republican Party chairman John Sununu. Lynch has opposed same-sex marriage in the state, saying that the New Hampshire civil union law [JURIST report] passed in 2007 provides the same legal protections for same-sex couples.
The New Hampshire attorney general was one of ten state attorneys general to petition the Supreme Court of California to postpone implementation of its decision [JURIST reports] to allow same-sex marriages in that state. The New Hampshire same-sex civil union law, which took effect in 2008 [JURIST report], allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions with the "same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as married couples." In 2005, a New Hampshire Senate commission on same-sex marriages voted to recommend [JURIST report] that the state not allow same-sex couples to marry, not recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, and not establish a domestic partner registry.