As you may know, Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire signed a marriage equality bill into law yesterday. Previously, Gov. Lynch had supported civil unions, but not not same-sex marriage. In a statement released yesterday, the governor made clear that his feelings on the matter had shifted course, thanks to the case made by activists, same-sex couples, and the general public:
"Two years ago in this room, I signed civil unions into law. That law gave same-sex couples in New Hampshire the rights and protections of marriage. And while civil unions was recognized as a step forward, many same-sex couples made compelling arguments that a separate system is not an equal system.
They argued that what might appear to be a minor difference in wording to some, lessened the dignity and legitimacy of their families."
New Hampshire joins the growing list of states that have passed laws supporting full marriage equality: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine, along with Iowa.
The governor signed the bill amid cheers of praise, as he was joined in the Executive Council Chamber by lawmakers and activists who had fought so hard to make marriage equality a reality.
Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay religious leader who heads the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, spoke at a celebratory rally. He "told supporters to savor the moment so they can tell their children and grandchildren 'you were here and you made it happen.' "
Gov. Lynch didn't miss out on an opportunity to point out that same-sex couples still face unequal treatment from the federal government:
"Unfortunately, the federal government does not extend the same rights and protections that New Hampshire provides same-sex families, and that should change."
The law will take effect January 1, 2010, and by that time, hopefully, more states will have followed suit.