"This bill recognizes the sanctity of religious marriage and the diversity of religious beliefs about marriage while still providing equal access to civil marriage to all New Hampshire citizens," said Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from Exeter.
The bill allows churches to decide whether they will conduct religious marriages for same-sex couples. Civil marriages would be available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
The bill scores high in the well, duh department by explicitly pointing out that the government won't be forcing churches to perform ceremonies they don't want to, but it never hurts to short-circuit a common anti-equality argument before it even gets uttered for roughly the kawhillionth time. Now it heads to the NH House, which can approve it as is, request modifications, or kill it outright. I don't know which way they're leaning, but I refuse to take the Senate action as anything but good.
By the way, this keeps Nate Silver's marriage map right on schedule--with help from a surprisingly positive endorsement from a Maine legislative committee, crap-ass testimony by certain segments of the Maine public notwithstanding--so I suppose this means I have two years left to go shopping for that perfect wedding outfit here in Arizona. Look out, Savers and Goodwill! Sporty dyke brides are heading for your door, and goddamn but we have muscular shoulders.
A good day for the Northeast. Keep it rolling!