Governor John Lynch has signed a bill legalising same-sex marriage in the state of New Hampshire – despite being personally against gay marriage. This makes New Hampshire the sixth American state to do so, following in the footsteps of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine.

Before coming to Lynch for a final signature, the bill was passed by the House of Representatives in a 198-176 vote. This was just hours after the Senate voted 14 to 10 in favour of the law.

“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.

However before he signed it, Lynch said that he required the law to give an opt-out to religious groups. 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.

Welcoming the news, Mo Baxley, the executive director of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition said: “Today’s vote is in line with the majority of New Hampshire people who support the freedom to marry.

“The legislature has upheld the New Hampshire values of individual liberty, freedom and fairness. We applaud the legislature for continuing to strongly safeguard religious freedom while making sure that all loving, committed couples have the freedom to marry.”

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