New Hampshire lawmakers unexpectedly rejected a bill on Wednesday that would have made the state the sixth in the United States to authorize gay marriage.
The Democratic-controlled House voted down the bill in a 188-186 vote, hours after the Senate approved the legislation 14-10 along party lines. An earlier version of the bill passed the state's House on March 26.
Both chambers had been asked to approve compromise language that would have given religious institutions opposed to gay marriage legal protections, including the right to decline to marry same-sex couples.
Gov. John Lynch had promised to sign the bill if those changes were made.