Same-sex marriage is on hold in New Hampshire

05/21/09 6:34AM

Same-sex marriage is on hold in New Hampshire.

Governor John Lynch has demanded changes before he'll sign legislation that would make the state the sixth to allow gay marriage, but those changes failed by two votes in the state House on Wednesday.

Lynch said last week he wouldn't sign the legislation without language to better protect churches and their employees against lawsuits if their beliefs preclude them from marrying same-sex couples.

The House has instead voted to further negotiate with the Senate, which approved the changes Wednesday.

And that decision caused jaws to drop in the gallery overlooking the House. Among the onlookers was Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the church. He said the House pushed the pause button, not reverse, and is optimistic lawmakers will come up with an acceptable bill this session.

One of the leaders of the opposition, Kevin Smith of Cornerstone Policy Research, said even he believed the bill was going to pass. He said the vote shows it's time to put the matter to rest for now and get back to issues such as the budget.

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