MANCHESTER, NH – Lawmakers rejected a bill that would have made New Hampshire’s legislature the first to repeal a marriage equality law.
Members of the state House voted 211-116 to defeat the bill, which ended attempts by the chamber’s new GOP majority to overturn the Granite State’s two-yearold same-sex marriage law.
“They blew it,” said Craig Stowell, co-chair of Standing Up For New Hampshire Families, citing conservatives’ efforts to undo the existing gay marriage law. “This was supposed to be the most favorable legislative climate for repeal and they couldn’t even get a majority.”
Republicans hold a 189-seat majority in the state’s House of Representatives.
The Republican-backed measure would have ended same-sex marriage effective March 2013, and replaced it with a previous civil unions law that had been in effect in 2008 and 2009. Under the bill, those same-sex marriages that were made prior to the repeal taking effect would have remained valid.
State Rep. David Welch, a Republican, said he had been against same-sex marriage, but that the time for repeal had come and gone. “The Legislature has given certain rights to members of our community and now we’re being asked to take them away,” said Welch.
Another Republican, state Rep. Warren Groen, supported the bill because, in his view, marriage equality is a gateway to legalizing polygamy and other non-traditional lifestyles. “We are indeed on a slippery slope,” Groen said.