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N.H. senate passes bill against gay marriage

N.H. senate passes bill against gay marriage

Gay marriages would not be recognized in New Hampshire under a bill approved 16-7 by the senate on Thursday. The legislation comes on the heels of the Massachusetts supreme judicial court decision giving gay couples the right to marry. "Neither the courts nor another legislature should dictate the definition of marriage in this state," said Sen. Andre Martel. Opponents of the bill said gay marriage is an issue of equal treatment under the law. "This is codifying discrimination and prejudice," said Sen. Clifton Below. The bill, which is supported by Gov. Craig Benson, a Republican, now goes to the house. The bill's prime sponsor, Sen. Russell Prescott, said at a public hearing last month that the bill is needed to close a loophole in New Hampshire law that could force the state to honor gay marriages performed outside its borders. The language in the bill is almost identical to the federal Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996. New Hampshire's Episcopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, said it serves the common good to also support same-gender couples who wish to pledge fidelity, monogamy, and lifelong commitment.

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