A bill to legalize gay marriage in New Hampshire failed in the state House Wednesday by two votes but was sent back to a House-Senate conference to work out a compromise. If successful, the compromise should come back for a vote on June 3.
The failure was a surprise to both backers and opponents, all of whom assumed that the vote would pass and be signed by Governor John Lynch. Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire characterized the situation as a pause rather than a setback.
WMUR-TV in Manchester, NH reports:
Robinson says he's not sad about Wednesday's vote. He says the journey to accepting gay marriage isn't a straight line. "I think the headline is the house pushes the pause button. which is something very different than a reverse button." Robinson says he's encouraged the house didn't kill the bill this session altogether. instead, sending it back to conference for further session. "We're going to get this right in conference, and it's going to be a bill that both the senate and the house can be proud of, and that the governor can sign." Robinson says he believes there will eventually be agreement in favor of gay marriage, and he believes it will happen this session.
The bill seems to have stalled on the question of how specific language protecting clergy and religious organizations that do not choose to perform same-sex marriages should read.