Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch asks state legislature to strengthen religious-liberty exemption of proposed marriage equality legislation

05/14/09 press release by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch:

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)."

1 comment:

ryanbiddulph said...

This is another indication that the face of our country is changing. Not for better or worse.

I believe that the institution of marriage should be reserved for a man/woman relationship but it appears that more than a few governors don't believe the same thing. I accept it, move on, and realize that many are liberated by this legislation.

I feel that my home state of NJ may be the next to enact same same-sex legislation.

Even though I don't necessarily agree I applaud these governors for standing up for what they believe in. With any mass movement it's always the first few that have to make the toughest s because they are subject to the most criticism.


Commentators, Subjects and Cases