Governor of New Hampshire signs law legalizing same-sex marriages
Thursday, June 4, 2009
"[I heard] compelling arguments that a separate system is not an equal system. Today, we are 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," said Lynch after signing the bill.
The bill passed in the Senate with 14 in favor and 10 against. The state's House voted hours later in favor of the bill, 198 in favor and 176 against. An earlier version of the bill failed to pass the House because it did not clarify enough rights to religious institutions. Organizations will not be required to perform same-sex marriages. The bill also does not require members of the clergy to perform the marriages.
"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," says the bill.
The law will take effect beginning on January 1, 2010. The law also states that any couples in a same-sex civil union may convert their union to a marriage beginning on that date and will automatically be considered married as of 2011.