New Hampshire Senate passes same-sex marriage bill

[JURIST] The New Hampshire Senate [official website] voted 13-11 Wednesday to approve a bill [HB 436 text] that would permit same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] in the state. The New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] approved the bill [JURIST report] last month by a vote of 186-179. The bill was amended on the Senate floor to distinguish between civil and religious marriage [Union Leader report]. The bill must now be reconciled between differing House and Senate versions before going before Governor John Lynch (D) [official website], who has not indicated whether he will veto it [Reuters report]. Lynch has expressed opposition to the bill, saying that the New Hampshire civil union law [JURIST report] passed in 2007 provides the same legal protections for same-sex couples.

The New Hampshire attorney general was one of 10 state attorneys general to petition the Supreme Court of California to postpone implementation of its decision [JURIST reports] to allow same-sex marriages in that state. The New Hampshire same-sex civil union law, which took effect in 2008 [JURIST report], allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions with the "same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as married couples." In 2005, a New Hampshire Senate commission on same-sex marriages voted to recommend [JURIST report] that the state not allow same-sex couples to marry, not recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, and not establish a domestic partner registry.

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