New Hampshire house and senate negotiators agreed on new language in the state's marriage equality bill late Friday, as a result of the house voting down the changes the senate made at the recommendation of Gov. John Lynch in order to get him to sign.
The bill will be voted on Wednesday, the next time the legislature convenes. The new version specifies that all religious organizations have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, and beliefs on marriage.
The new language does not differ much from the earlier version -- churches are still exempt from providing insurance and other benefits and services to same-sex partners of employees. Governor Lynch reportedly agrees to the compromise.
"Well it appears that the agreement incorporates the principles I laid out a number of weeks ago, and it's important there be tolerance on both sides, including tolerance for religious institutions and people of religious faith," the governor said.
See video report from WMUR, including more from the governor's response.
On Thursday New Hampshire's state senate voted down 14-10 a referendum aiming to bring same-sex marriage to a vote in the state.
If the marriage bill passes, New Hampshire will become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage and the sixth with laws currently affirming marriage equality.
Many are believing though that this "compromise" is a "distraction," going overboard in protecting religious institutions since those protections were already in the language of the bill before the governor even had a chance to step in and meddle.
Rep. Anthony DiFruscia, a Republican member of the bipartisan negotiating team, told the Boston Globe, "hypothetically, if I'm a Nazi -- which I'm not -- and I felt white supremacy should take place, do I now get an exemption because my conscience says if you're not blond and blue-eyed, I can discriminate against you?"
Unite the Fight earlier reported on how these protections, which are inserted to appease groups such as National Organization for Marriage, were still rejected by them in celebration of the bill's initial defeat, and so they did not realize that they were celebrating the loss of extra protection for themselves.
What do you think? Was this a compromise or a means to end for marriage equality in New Hampshire?
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