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New Hampshire, Inches Away

Governor Lynch says he will sign the marriage bill.

"In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.

"Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.

"At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term 'civil union' to 'civil marriage.' Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.

"I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.

"I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.

"Throughout history, our society's views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire's great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.

"That is what I believe we must do today.

He listened.

The only catch is that he wants more protections for religious groups, similar to those seen in Vermont and Connecticut's marriage laws (e.g., you can't sue a church organist if they don't want to play at your wedding).

This is fine, except that to make these modifications requires another bill to go through the legislature. The same legislature which barely passed the first marriage bill. All of NOM's money will now, I am guessing, be directed to the NH Senate, where the first marriage bill so barely passed (at 13-11)1. If these modifications are not passed, then the governor will veto. For those of you following at home:

House Bill 436 is the marriage bill, passed by the full legislature, which has not yet reached Lynch's desk.

House Bill 310 is a modification/clarification of that bill, also passed by the full legislature, also soon to reach Lynch's desk.

House Bill 73 is an unrelated bill already in play that relates to various marriage statutes - the protections the governor has asked for could be written into this bill.

It is my hope, that since HB 73 is creating more religious protections, that it will pass with greater margins in both the House and Senate regardless of how much money NOM pours into things.

If this is true, all three bills could be on Lynch's desk as early as next week.


1. Also, remember that "new poll data" that came out showing the majority of New Hampshire voters as against equal marriage? The one that claimed they surveyed every household in NH? Bullshit!

2. Also, huge shoutout to orbitalmechanic, from whom I heard this first. I was out on the town, and not on email to get the news until later. Is it insane that I'm thinking of letting twitter pipe into my phone just so I can get marriage updates in realtime? Because I totally am.



( 6 have spoken — Speak )
May. 15th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
May. 15th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
I was so excited to learn something before you! Normally your Monday posts are where I get all the news.

In other news, MY MIND IS EXPLODING.
May. 15th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
I almost texted you about this yesterday, but then I thought, nah, I'm sure she's already heard. :)

I'm slightly worried about the new bill's likelihood of passing, because (a) some liberals are freaking out about the phrase "promotion of marriage," certain that it means legalizing discrimination; and (b) one Republican state Representative who voted for the bill says he'll now vote against it (he's trying to score points against Lynch, who's a Democrat and apparently has a reputation for not taking stands on things). Also, of course, NOM and such are out in force trying to ensure that this doesn't go through, and a couple of the previous votes in NH have been pretty close.

However, it sounds to me like the NH leadership is doing the right things to get this done. So, fingers crossed.
May. 15th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
Well, the House vote was close, but not one-vote close, so if it's just that one dude we should still be okay. It's the Senate I'm really worried about - they just need to lose one vote, and they've got a tie, 12-12.

I'm hoping it will be viewed as largely procedural, in the same way that they've already passed one bill modifying the original marriage bill, and it was so non-controversial that most of the newspapers/blogs weren't even tracking those votes, so.
(Deleted comment)
May. 15th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, good grief. That's what I get for following somebody's link without checking the date. I am embarrassed and apologetic. I will now destroy the evidence!
May. 15th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
It's okay. It's the anniversary today of the ruling that overturned Prop 22, the original DOMA in California, so it was bound to be a little confusing.

There were suspicions they would rule yesterday, as close as possible to the anniversary, and that if they did the ruling would probably be quite favorable - otherwise why rub salt in the wounds by ruling so close to the date that they made marriage equal in California?

Not sure whether avoiding ruling near the anniversary, by avoiding the Th ruling and the possible M ruling three days from now, means the opposite, or can even be interpreted at all.
( 6 have spoken — Speak )