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June 27, 2013

N.H. reacts to Supreme Court gay marriage decision

Lexi Deschene, 21, was beaming yesterday when she learned about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

“This is absolutely great news,” the Derry resident said. “Love is love in my mind.”

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday, 5-4, that the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied benefits to married, same-sex couples was unconstitutional, marking a major victory for proponents of gay rights.

They also, in a 5-4 decision, left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month.

In New Hampshire, Democratic state officials were applauding the decision by the court. Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Hampshire since 2010.

“Today, the Supreme Court has affirmed the founding principle of the United States of America that all are created equal,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a statement. “All married couples, no matter their gender, will receive the fair and equal treatment under the law that they so rightly deserve.”

Recent polls have shown that New Hampshire supports gay marriage. In a poll taken last August by The Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire, 61 percent of New Hampshire residents polled were against the repeal of the law legalizing gay marriage.

Massachusetts has been instrumental in legalizing gay marriage, becoming the first state to legalize it in 2004.

Devon Chaffee, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, called the ruling the “beginning of the end” for discrimination against same-sex couples.

“The ruling will make a huge difference in the lives of same-sex married couples in the state of New Hampshire and across the country,” she said. “Today is a great day for equality and the beginning of the end of official discrimination against gay and lesbian people.”

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