EXCERPT FROM TODAY'S AP ARTICLE:
CONCORD, New Hampshire - New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage after the Senate and House passed key language on religious rights and Gov. John Lynch — who personally opposes gay marriage — signed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.
After rallies outside the Statehouse by both sides in the morning, the last of three bills in the package went to the Senate, which approved it 14-10 Wednesday afternoon.
Cheers from the gallery greeted the key vote in the House, which passed it 198-176. Surrounded by gay marriage supporters, Lynch signed the bill about an hour later.
'Today, we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities — and respect — under New Hampshire law,' Lynch said.
Lynch, a Democrat, had promised a veto if the law didn't clearly spell out that churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate at gay marriages or provide other services. Legislators made the changes.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa already allow gay marriage, though opponents hope to overturn Maine's law with a public vote.
California briefly allowed gay marriage before a public vote banned it; a court ruling grandfathered in couples who were already married.
The New Hampshire law will take effect Jan. 1, exactly two years after the state began recognizing civil unions.
For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.