Governor Lynch will sign proposed marriage equality legislation [HB436] only if the state legislature amends it to provide what he considers "the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions." As an example that AP reports, "Lynch wants to be sure an organist employed by a church opposed to gay marriage could legally refuse to perform at a gay wedding."
The press release sets out the recommended amendment, which follows almost verbatim the religious-exemption language of Connecticut's new law (Public Act No. 09-13, Secs. 17-18). The Governor based his decision on a review of religious-liberty exemptions in Vermont's and Connecticut's marriage equality laws. He evidently found inadequate the New Hampshire legislature's last-minute attempt to strengthen HB436's religious-liberty exemption.
05/14/09 NY Times:
According to the Times,
Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a legal group in Boston, said Mr. Lynch’s proposed changes to the New Hampshire law were “not a big deal.”
Law professor Dale Carpenter has recently blogged on religious-liberty exemption. He says that the Governor borrows the recommended language "partly from a religious-exemption proposal initially made a few weeks ago by several law professors and partly from language included in recently successful Maine and Vermont SSM laws." It represents "the broadest religious exemption yet adopted," even if it is also just the kind of political compromise Lynch requires, given his reversal on gay marriage.
As Carpenter says in his updated blog entry,
"It appears New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, the main pro-SSM group, supports the governor's proposal. They're indicating that a legislative hearing on the proposal will be held Tuesday" (05/09/09)."