Sunday, January 2, 2011

Governor Cuts Deal to Support Gay Marriage

May 15, 2009 by Patrick  
Filed under State House

In a reversal, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch now says he will support gay marriage legislation passed by both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate provided those bodies make slight changes to the legislation before it hits his desk. The changes Lynch recommends are seen as a formality and it is now likely that same-sex marriage will be legal in the Granite State very soon.

Lynch had won re-election as an opponent of gay marriage in 2006 and 2008.

“If the legislature passes [the changes], I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it,” Lynch said in a statement.

Lynch is the second New England Democratic Governor in as many weeks to change his position in favor of gay marriage. Maine Gov. John Baldacci, who also once opposed same-sex marriage, signed a law to legalize it last week.

“Once again Governor Lynch has discovered a way to be against something and for it at the same time,” said Republican State Chairman John H. Sununu, himself a former governor. “I wish he would spend as much time trying to cut spending in the budget as he obviously has trying to find a way to straddle the same-sex marriage issue and wiggle out of his commitment to traditional marriage.”

We reprint Lynch’s entire statement below:

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Contact: Colin Manning

Gov. Lynch Statement Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

CONCORD – Gov. John Lynch released the following statement today regarding same-sex legislation in New Hampshire:

“The gay marriage debate in New Hampshire has been filled with passion and emotion on all sides.

“My personal views on the subject of marriage have been shaped by my own experience, tradition and upbringing. But as Governor of New Hampshire, I recognize that I have a responsibility to consider this issue through a broader lens.

“In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.

“Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.

“At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term ‘civil union’ to ‘civil marriage.’ Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.

“I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.

“I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.

“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.

“That is what I believe we must do today.

“But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals.

“The Legislature took an important step by clearly differentiating between civil and religious marriage, and protecting religious groups from having to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious beliefs.

“But the role of marriage in many faiths extends beyond the actual marriage ceremony.

“I have examined the laws of other states, including Vermont and Connecticut, which have recently passed same-sex marriage laws. Both go further in protecting religious institutions than the current New Hampshire legislation.

“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.

“I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it.

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2 Responses to “Governor Cuts Deal to Support Gay Marriage”
  1. Barbara Frost says:

    So now this makes sodomy somehow sacred? Oh, so much for the American moral standing………..guess the far left isn’t all that concerned about it after all.


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  1. [...] Some marriage traditionalists regard this as a good-faith position on the governor’s part, others see it as an attempt to straddle on a controversial issue. StumbleUpon| Digg| Reddit| Twitter| [...]

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