NH Same Sex Marriage Bill Signed into Law

June 4, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The New Hampshire legislature approved revisions to a same-sex marriage bill on Wednesday, and Governor John Lynch promptly signed the legislation, the New York Times reports.

The action makes the state the sixth to let same-sex couples wed. The law will take effect on January 1.

The bill had been through several permutations to satisfy Lynch and certain legislators that it would not force religious organizations that oppose same sex marriage to participate in ceremonies celebrating it, according to the news report. Some groups feared they could be sued for refusing to allow same sex weddings on their property.

The original version exempted members of the clergy from having to perform same sex weddings, but Lynch said he would veto the bill unless the legislature added language also exempting religious groups and their employees from having to participate in such ceremonies.

He also ordered that the bill protect members of religious groups from having to provide same sex couples with religious counseling, housing designated for married people and other services relating to “the promotion of marriage.”