New Hampshire House rejects amended same-sex marriage bill News
New Hampshire House rejects amended same-sex marriage bill

[JURIST] The New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday rejected a same-sex marriage bill [text] after it was amended [text] at the request [JURIST report] of Governor John Lynch [official website]. The bill was defeated by a 186-188 vote [roll call vote] after a religious liberty protection clause was added to gain Lynch's approval. The amended bill, which specified that religious groups will not be required to perform or recognize the unions, was approved by the Senate [docket text] by a 14-10 vote earlier Wednesday. Representative Steve Vaillancourt (R) [official profile], a supporter of same-sex marriage, voted against the religious liberty amendment on the principle that the House should not be "bullied" [Reuters report] by the governor. Lynch has previously 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 previous version of the bill was approved by the House [JURIST report] by a 186-179 vote in March. Recently, 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. Earlier this month, 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.