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NH Legislature Reaches Compromise on Same-Sex Marriage

A Senate and House committee in New Hampshire agreed on language changes to marriage equality legislation following requests by Governor John Lynch that the bills add additional religious protections:

Nh "The new version, which is expected to come up for a vote Wednesday, adds a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage. It also clarifies that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same sex spouses of employees. The earlier version said 'charitable and educational' instead of 'charitable or educational.' The changes amount to slightly stronger language than what Lynch proposed, and the governor approves of the revisions."

One senator, Sheila Roberge, was removed from the committee after offering three substitute proposals which were rejected. Roberge proposed a voters referendum and a delay of the date the legislation would take effect from January 2010 to July 2011.

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  1. I'm concerned that the compromise won't pass. The wording is substantially the same as the last time, when it failed.

    Posted by: John | May 29, 2009 6:49:26 PM

  2. Pass it already. Stop dickin us around.

    Posted by: samwise | May 29, 2009 6:54:01 PM

  3. This is great news, but....

    All of this latitude...all of this concern for religious freedom and churches in same-sex marriage equality . Why can't THEY just mind their own business when it comes to secular same-sex marriages?

    Posted by: Terry | May 29, 2009 6:59:10 PM

  4. TERRY - I kind of agree. I mean, I'm glad this is moving forward but saying they can deny benefits to same-sex partners, etc just kinda sucks to me. On the other hand, why would I want to work for an organization that clearly spends so much time hating on me and my life (I know that isn't the point, but that is the reality).

    Posted by: gabriel | May 29, 2009 7:14:12 PM

  5. So, what about hospital visitation rights? Would same-sex couples actually have to avoid health service providers that are associated with bigoted religious organizations?

    Posted by: Tom | May 29, 2009 7:25:28 PM

  6. Actually, changing 'and' to 'or' is quite significant. (If you are a programmer, you would already know this)

    Posted by: DD | May 29, 2009 7:26:06 PM

  7. I'm hoping that the bloc of people who changed their votes and helped vote down the bill last week aren't concerned at all with the language but just wanted to usurp Lynch's power in the matter. That's my feeling anyway, but we'll see on Wednesday. I expect we'll hear some reactions to the new language before then.

    Posted by: Bruno | May 29, 2009 7:33:18 PM

  8. Are churches allowed to discriminate on the basis of race or gender? Though I understand the rationale behind this law, I hate to think a special exemption is being granted these institutions. I mean, can a church limit membership to whites only?

    Posted by: Dan | May 29, 2009 7:40:55 PM

  9. Many churches, particularly Catholic, provide social services to the general public. Some are contracted by the state and others run hospitals, etc. This seems like a dangerous concession.

    Posted by: busytimmy | May 29, 2009 8:05:13 PM

  10. I'm not a lawyer, esp. in NH state law, but from what I understand, the religious protection clause has only to do with marriage. Social services are not relevant to this bill.

    Posted by: DD | May 29, 2009 8:20:38 PM

  11. How very compassionate of the churches to want to deny insurance and other benefits to spouses of their GLBT employees....

    Posted by: Jeffrey | May 29, 2009 9:11:59 PM

  12. Great... religions are now going to be legally allowed to discriminate! What? You know what... if this is what it will take, let's just do it... these dinosaur gay-hating asswipes will be history soon enough. What self-respecting gay person would want to work for these fools when there are other worthy and amazing organizations to work for. Screw the bigoted... give them rope, they will hang themselves! Assholes!

    Posted by: CK | May 29, 2009 9:48:37 PM

  13. Congrats to NH. Get rid of Roberge and save your rights! Voting on rights is NEVER right.

    Posted by: jimwatson | May 29, 2009 10:19:11 PM

  14. Religions were always legally allowed to discriminate, CK. Hello, women and the priesthood. Let the bigots out themselves so equality-minded people know to avoid them.

    Posted by: Ryan | May 29, 2009 11:41:56 PM

  15. One question, does the Mormon Church let blacks marry whites? Or are there any black Mormons?

    Posted by: Steve | May 30, 2009 12:18:55 AM

  16. yes, there are black mormons, jackass. The stupidity on this board is mind-boggling.

    Posted by: Davey | May 30, 2009 12:21:23 AM

  17. That bill looks so messy legally that its only a matter of time until the religious provisions are watered down by the courts, or the bill is just ruled unconstitutional altogether.

    Posted by: Sean | May 30, 2009 12:23:48 AM

  18. Uh... davey...yes there are black mormons... but I wouldn't call it exactly a stupid question..

    Posted by: samwise | May 30, 2009 1:34:24 AM

  19. What is important here is that religious institutions have had language included which allows them TO DENY ANY BENEFITS to spouses of Same Sex marriage or Civil Unions. It is state sanctioned discrimination but unfortunately you won't get one (Same Sex Marriage) without the other (state sanctioned discrimination)!!!!!

    Posted by: alex in boston | May 30, 2009 1:59:49 AM

  20. How about separation of Church and State????
    This does not work for me...

    Posted by: ty | May 30, 2009 2:29:11 AM

  21. I like this law. It will pass and the exceptions as written will be ruled unconstitutional if the charitable or educational programs receive any state money.

    Posted by: Aiden Raccoon | May 30, 2009 5:00:41 AM

  22. To hell with the religious rightists, I say. Gay people should refuse to work in such places. And I think it is high time that we as a secular society start to repeal the tax exempt status of all churches and their little ministry jackpots. We could probably pay down a good chunk of the national debt if churches were taxed... If they are going to meddle in my life, I want maximum pain in theirs. And nothing angers christians more than taxes!!! Pay to play, about a starting rate of 65%? Do you think the fear and loathing of the Evil Sodomites would last long if the big churches were paying a 65% tax rate??? I think not.

    Posted by: Travis Colten Yocom | May 30, 2009 6:31:22 AM

  23. I'm sick and tired of these "religious" exemptions. Tax 'em. Tax 'em hard.

    Posted by: Island Girly | May 30, 2009 9:13:48 AM

  24. Well, just for the record, at one time blacks were second class members of the Mormon Church. Then somebody had a "revelation" and they were allowed full rights. Why any self-respecting black would have been a Mormon before full rights is a mystery, but the obvious answer is that they were not self-respecting.

    I think religious people need not worry - religion will always be a bastion of bigorty. Somebody has to be on the outside so those on the inside know that they are better.

    Posted by: Joel | May 30, 2009 9:35:46 AM

  25. Let the bill pass, then sue the state for allowing religious discrimination. The religious fuckwits don't realize that once they allow equal marriage, any discrepancy between the rights of a heterosexual and homosexual couple immediately represent an 14th amendment violation.

    Posted by: Iko | May 30, 2009 10:40:14 AM

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