Last week New Hampshire's Democratic governor John Lynch refused to sign a marriage equality bill that had passed both chambers of the NH legislature. Sure, he couched it in bullshit weasel words about how it was important to protect "religious marriage," but the reality was that the legislature had already bent over backward in making it clear that no religious body would be required to honor or perform a same-sex marriage.
Instead of signing the bill, he sent it back to the legislature with a requirement that they change the language. And guess what? The NH House just voted against the changes Lynch demanded in order to sign the bill.
Folks are still trying to figure out what happened, but it's quite possible that now the bill is dead for the rest of this legislative session.
Is it a matter of principle that the House didn't sign on to the unnecessary changes? Did Lynch cut a back-room deal with some House members to kill the bill so he wouldn't have to sign it? It's certainly plausible that Lynch pulled a bullshit move with some allies in the legislature; after all, as the Concord Monitor reported in 2008, the NH Senate Democratic campaign fund had by that point paid Lynch $109,000 in consulting fees.
That's right, the Democratic campaign fund for the one of the legislative bodies was paying consulting fees to the sitting head of the executive branch.
Here are the simple facts: John Lynch is the governor of a socially liberal state, one of the most socially liberal states in America. The NH legislature passed a perfectly fine marriage equality bill that made very explicit its protections of religious institutions. Lynch could have signed it. He didn't, and instead required a painfully constructed bill, the product of a volatile and fragile coalition, be sent back to the legislature to make unnecessary changes.
Do not be confused by the technicalities here: NH Democratic governor John Lynch, governor of one of the most socially tolerant states in American, killed marriage equality in his state.