New Hampshire rejects Gays

May 21st, 2009 - 2:11 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

The New Hampshire House of Representatives today, in a 188-186 vote, rejected amendments to the gay marriage bill made by the senate.

The rejection of the amendments came as a surprise as it had already approved the bill prior to sending it to the Senate, which passed it on 14-10 vote. However, the Senate amended the language slightly before passing it, causing the bill to be returned to the lower house to have the amended version approved.

The amendments would have given religious institutions opposed to gay marriage legal protections, including the right to decline to marry same-sex couples.

The wording was added by Governor John Lynch, a Democrat who has opposed same-sex marriage in the past, but who promised to sign the bill if the changes were made.

Gay marriage opponents had also wanted additional protections included to allow businesses such as florists and wedding photographers to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples based on their religious beliefs, but these were not included.

If the New Hampshire House had approved the bill it would have been the sixth state in the US to authorize gay marriage and the fifth in New England.

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