Today, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch announced that he will sign the state’s recently approved marriage equality legislation – if a few changes are made to the legislation's wording. The Gov. voiced concerns over the rights of religious institutions and suggested a change in the legislation’s language. In a press conference, the Governor expressed his support for marriage equality:
Throughout history, our society’s views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.
In an official press release, the Governor outlined the changes that would be required for him to sign the legislation into law:
This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions.
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.
If the legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it.
We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity.
You can read the full press release here.
Mo Baxley, executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, was quoted by The Boston Globe responding to the Gov.’s proposed changes, "This is language we can support.”
New Hampshire legislators have indicated that they will approve the alterations shortly– making the Granite State the sixth state to implement marriage equality for gay couples.
We’ll be monitoring the progress and will keep you updated when new developments break!