Does New Hampshire Now Have Same-Sex Marriage?

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2009

Law Dork thinks so. He points to this clause in the New Hampshire constitution:

If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within five days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it unless the legislature by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

The Union Leader reports that the bill went to the governor on May 6. Law Dork counted off the days (skipping Sunday) and concludes that if the Union Leader was correct, then the bill became law at midnight last night. That’s if the bill went to the governor on May 6.

Update: It looks like the answer is “not yet.” According to Sunday’s Nashua Telegraph, “The Senate-crafted compromise (HB 436) only got to Secretary of State Bill Gardner late Friday afternoon, while the second bill (HB 310) that fixes mistakes made in the first wasn’t there yet. At a minimum, what must follow are signatures from the Senate president, House speaker and key members on the House and Senate Enrolled Bills committee.” The official web page for the bill suggests that the Senate President may have affixed his signature yesterday, if I’m reading it correctly.

[Hat tip: Pam’s House Blend]


May 13th, 2009

I’m reading no, It needed to go through a technical review to ensure the final copy’s accuracy and be signed off by the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate before it goes on to the Governor, which actually starts the five day sign, veto or let pass clock.


May 13th, 2009

I received this message from the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition on Monday, 5/11/09:

We have passed both the House and the Senate and the bill is currently in the enrollment process. This process includes checking spelling before it receives final approval of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House. The bill should be ready for the Speaker of the House by Wednesday. It than [sic] will go to the President of the Senate. The bill than [sic] returns to the Secretary of State who will deliver it to the Governors desk. Once the bill is delivered to the Governors desk he has 5 days not counting Sunday to act on the bill or it becomes law without any action on his part.


May 13th, 2009

Just for the sake of asking, how long does it take to spell-check this? Is there any sort of timeframe for getting this done?


May 13th, 2009

Heaven forbid it arrives on Lynch’s desk with a dangling participle.

Timothy Kincaid

May 13th, 2009

I’m curious about the delay as well.

At a guess, it may possibly be a political move to separate as much time as possible from the news reports about the vote and the time Lynch has to make his decision in the hopes that it could just sort of slide into law with less media attention on the Governor.

In other words, if no one is really tracking when the bill becomes law, then the time may slip past and “a few days ago…” is a lot less newsworthy than “today the Governor…”

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