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New Hampshire House passes same-sex marriage bill

[JURIST] The New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] voted Thursday to approve a bill [HB 436 text] that would permit same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] in the state. The bill passed by a vote of 186-179, and now moves on to the New Hampshire State Senate [official website]. If approved by the Senate and signed into law by New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (D) [official website], the bill would "eliminate[] the exclusion of same gender couples from marriage, affirm[] religious freedom protections of clergy with regard to the solemnization of marriage, and provide[] a mechanism by which same gender couples who have entered into a civil union prior to the enactment of this bill may obtain the legal status of marriage." The New Hampshire House vote was met with derision [New Hampshire Union-Leader report] from New Hampshire Republican Party chairman John Sununu. Lynch has opposed same-sex marriage in the state, saying that the New Hampshire civil union law [JURIST report] passed in 2007 provides the same legal protections for same-sex couples.

The New Hampshire attorney general was one of ten state attorneys general to petition the Supreme Court of California to postpone implementation of its decision [JURIST reports] to allow same-sex marriages in that state. The New Hampshire same-sex civil union law, which took effect in 2008 [JURIST report], allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions with the "same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as married couples." In 2005, a New Hampshire Senate commission on same-sex marriages voted to recommend [JURIST report] that the state not allow same-sex couples to marry, not recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, and not establish a domestic partner registry.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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