NH Bill Lets Wedding Vendors Stand by Conscience

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New Hampshire's House Judiciary Committee held a hearing this week on proposed legislation that would allow wedding vendors to turn away gay couples.

The purpose of the "business protection bill" is to shield people in the wedding industry who feel doing business with gay couples would violate their conscience or religious faith.

The bill would also bar lawsuits against those business owners.

State Rep. Cynthia Chase, D-Keene, panned the measure as "codified discrimination" and suggested it was the start of a "slippery slope."

"When you begin to codify things for one group, pretty soon it's okay for that group and then that group," Chase said during Tuesday's hearing.

But Republican Rep. Frank Sapareto of Derry said he supported the measure.

"In other words, we're not going to force a rabbi to have a Nazi function in his synagogue," he said. "We don't do those things. We don't force people against their will to provide these (services). I completely agree with it."

"This is the Live Free or Die State," he added. "We should be free to do business with whom we want."

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