[JURIST] New Hampshire Governor John Lynch [official website] said Thursday that he is willing to sign [statement] a same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] bill [text] into law, but only if the legislature amends it to make it clear that religious groups will not be required to perform or recognize the unions. The New Hampshire legislature gave final approval to the bill last week after the House and Senate [JURIST reports] approved differing versions. Lynch said that if his proposed amendments are made, he will sign the bill. If not, he will veto the legislation. Lynch said:
This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions. It will make clear that they cannot be forced to act in ways that violate their deeply held religious principles. … We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity. I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it.
The legislature is expected to adopt [Boston Globe report] Lynch's proposed amendments.
Earlier this week, the New York State Assembly [official website] passed a bill [JURIST report] that would allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the state. That bill will now go before the state senate. Last week, Maine became the fifth state to allow same-sex marriage [JURIST report] when Governor John Baldacci [official website] signed a same-sex marriage bill into law. Last month, Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through a vote of the legislature, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa [JURIST reports] as the other states that allow same-sex marriage.