New Hampshire has voted against an amended bill to allow gay marriage in the state.

The Senate yesterday approved the bill 14-10 but the House of Representatives voted it down by 188 votes to 186.

The House then voted 207-168 to ask the Senate to negotiate a compromise.

Last week, Governor John Lynch said he would sign the bill if amendments were made to it to offer more protection against lawsuits to churches and their employees if their beliefs prevent them from marrying gay couples.

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was present in the gallery at the House vote.

He spoke of his optimism that lawmakers would soon produce an accepted bill, saying: “I think the headline is the House pushes the pause button, which is something very different than a reverse button.”