Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Hampshire Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage; Comments By Alliance Defense Fund Attorney Austin Nimocks Suggest Future Litigation

06/03/09 NY Times:

Having reached a compromise last week, the New Hampshire legislature today approved HB73, providing to religious organizations - but not designated individuals - religious-liberty exemptions in the state's marriage equality legislation. Governor John Lynch "promptly signed" that legislation. As the NY Times reports,

The bill [HB73] had been through several permutations in an effort to satisfy Mr. Lynch and certain legislators that it would not force members of religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage to participate in ceremonies celebrating it ... [and that it would] 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.”


[M]any of the bill’s opponents believe the language adopted by New Hampshire and several other states does not go far enough because it protects only religious groups and their employees. New Hampshire’s bill does not exempt photographers or florists, for example, from having to provide services.

06/04/09 Balkanization Blog:

Same-sex couples, Governor Lynch said, had made “compelling arguments” about why separate was not equal. Will this emerging rhetoric of equal rights, responsibilities, and respect have an impact on other states that do not currently afford any legal recognition to the relationships of same-sex couples? ... How these “conscience protections” will play out in everyday life (for example, may a religiously devout employee of a secular florist shop assert them because his faith “directs” him?) and whether they will lessen opposition to opening up civil marriage remains to be seen.

06/03/09 (source: Gay Marriage Watch)

HB 73, compromise legislation demanded by the governor, was passed by a vote of 14-10 in the Senate and 198-176 in the House today. HB 73 (text), was an add-on to the gay marriage bill itself, HB 436 (text), and to HB 310 (text), which made technical changes to the main bill.

06/03/09 Baptist Press (source: ADF Alliance Alert):

"The New Hampshire governor is right to recognize the threat to religious liberty posed by same-sex marriage, but he underestimates the threat by a long shot," Austin R. Nimocks, an attorney with the legal organization Alliance Defense Fund, told Baptist Press. "The protections he proposes do not cover business owners and individuals with religious objections to same-sex marriage, and these are exactly the kind of cases that the Alliance Defense Fund is having to defend."

06/03/09 Mirror of Justice:

UPDATE: As of today, five states recognize same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont; two states recognize same-sex unions (i.e., civil unions for same-sex couples): California and New Jersey; and five more jurisdictions have enacted domestic partnerships laws that grant many or all of the benefits of marriage to registered domestic partners: Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, Washington State, and the District of Columbia.

During the ten-year period from 1998 to 2008, voters in twenty-nine states approved state constitutional bans on same-sex "marriage". However, some of these bans are limited: They do not forbid states to extend the benefit of law to same-sex unions; they forbid only calling such unions "marriage". See "States With Voter-Approved Constitutional Bans on Same-Sex Marriage, 1998-2008,"

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