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Is New Hampshire #5?


It’s up to John Lynch now.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 13 to 11 in favor of the bill, but only after a last-minute amendment strengthened language granting legal protections for religious groups and organizations that do not want to perform or otherwise help carry out same-sex marriages.

The House, which approved the marriage bill by a seven-vote margin last month, will now vote on the Senate’s amended version. Supporters and opponents both predicted that version would pass the House, which is more liberal and was more enthusiastic about same-sex marriage from the start. The bill probably cannot gain enough support in either house for an override, so its fate almost certainly rests with Gov. John Lynch.

It is unclear whether Gov. Lynch, a Democrat, will veto the law or whether the new language will persuade him to endorse it. Mr. Lynch has consistently opposed same-sex marroiage but has never said whether he would veto the bill or let it be enacted without his signature.

He did not reveal his intentions after the vote but reiterated his belief that the state’s two-year-old civil-union law provides sufficient rights and protections to gay couples.

“To achieve further real progress,” he said in a statement, “the federal government would need to take action to recognize New Hampshire civil unions.”

On the one hand, the wrong venue/method tactic of delaying marriage equality is annoying and tiresome. But it’s heartening that we live in a climate where direct adovcacy of marriage discrimination is increasingly beyond the pale. (See also: the hysterical claims of censorship of ministers that were a major part of Prop-8 advocacy, the much-mocked NOM video, etc etc).

Speaking of NOM, they’re here to remind us that judicial legislative policy-making is elitist, countermajoritarian, and anti-democratic.

Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, which was established to fight same-sex marriage around the country, said the group would intensively lobby Mr. Lynch to veto it. “This vote is in no way representative of what folks in New Hampshire want,” Mr. Brown said, adding that the Senate leadership had used “arm-twisting” to change the votes of a few crucial Democrats. “If the governor is going to stand by his words and his stated position, he will veto this bill.”

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