New Hampshire business owners could soon have the right to decide whom they accept at patrons, if a bill by Rep. Frank Sapareto (R-Derry) becomes law. House Bill 1264 would put an exemption in New Hampshire’s state marriage law that says no person, including a business owner or employee, should be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges for wedding services in “violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith.” The bill also would protect against lawsuits arising from refusal to provide those services.
Sponsors of the bill say they are not confident the state adequately protects clergy from being forced to officiate same-sex marriages, though they expect debate over the provisions that protect businesses as well. Even same-sex “marriage” advocates admit that their biggest concern is that a town clerk or judge would be able to refuse to marry a same-sex couple.
The bill had a hearing this week before the House Judiciary Committee, but Rep. Sapareto isn’t expecting it to come out of committee and to a House vote for at least a few weeks.
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