Thursday, June 04, 2009

New Hampshire legalizes same-sex marriage

And that brings the total number of states currently guaranteeing full equality to all their citizens to six. Rhode Island, ironically considered the most liberal state in the union, is now the lone holdout in New England:
Governor Lynch makes history with the stroke of a pen.

Traditionally conservative New Hampshire today became the sixth state in the nation -- and the fifth state in New England -- where same-sex couples will be allowed to marry.

"Today we're standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect under New Hampshire law," Governor John Lynch said before signing the legislation in a State House ceremony at about 5:20 p.m.

Lynch said it was a New Hampshire tradition "to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections, and that tradition continues today." The room, filled by scores of the bill's supporters, resounded with applause as he signed.
Gay marriage is now legal in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts -- all of the new England states, except for Rhode Island. Gay marriage is also legal in Iowa.

Lynch signed the bill after it was approved by both the House and Senate earlier in the day.
Lynch said in mid-May that he would sign a bill legalizing same-sex unions as long as the Legislature made it clearer that religious groups would not be forced to conduct "marriage ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious beliefs."

Lynch said at the bill signing ceremony that the Legislature had amended the bill so that it met his concerns.
In early May, Lynch reiterated his position that civil unions were best for the state. But two weeks later, he said his thinking had changed. He said society's views on civil rights have "constantly evolved and expanded" throughout our history. "That is what I believe we must do today."
What an exiting time to be around and to witness this incremental betterment of our society.

Hopefully, the legalization of gay marriage in yet another neighboring state will improve the chances that Maine will vote down a referendum to overturn it there.

Thank you New Hampshire!!

No comments: