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New Hampshire reaches compromise on gay marriage

Jessica Geen June 1, 2009

The New Hampshire House and Senate have agreed to change one word and add a sentence to a bill which will allow gay marriage in the state.

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.

Revised legislation passed the Senate last week but narrowly failed in the House.

One of the new amendments is a sentence specifying that all religious organisations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage.

Church-related organisations with charitable or educational purposes are permitted to opt out of providing insurance and other benefits to same sex spouses of employees.

The wording has been changed from “charitable and educational” to “charitable or educational”.

However, some negotiators argued that the revised language could foster new kinds of discrimination, AP reports.

“Hypothetically, if I’m a Nazi – which I’m not – and I felt white supremacy should take place, do I now get an exemption because my conscience says if you’re not blond and blue-eyed, I can discriminate against you?” asked Representative Anthony DiFruscia, a Windham Republican.

The revised bill will be voted for on Wednesday.

More: Americas

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