New Hampshire governor John Lynch has signalled he will sign a bill legalising gay marriage in the state, despite his personal objections.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, he said he would sign the bill if the legislature revised it to offer more protection against lawsuits to churches and their employees if their beliefs prevent them from marrying gay couples.

Legislative leaders have said they will back the changes and gay marriage supporters have not objected.

“Throughout history, our society’s views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded,” Lynch told reporters.

“New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections. This is what I believe we must do today.”

He added that despite his personal views on gay marriage, he had chosen to view the issue “through a broader lens”.

The gay marriage bill has not yet made its way to Governor Lynch’s desk and will be held until the changes are approved.

It is expected that gay marriage will become legal in the state within a fortnight.

The move will make New Hampshire the sixth US state to legalise gay marriage and the fourth in just six weeks.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa and Maine now allow gay couples to marry.