Thursday, May 21, 2009

UPDATE: Story Behind The Vote Against NH Marriage Equality Bill and What You Can Do

UPDATE: NH Republicans hold a press conference urging the governor to veto marriage equality bill before the House and Senate committee can forge a compromise on the language of the bill.

More and more I'm annoyed by the unexpected failure of the marriage equality bill to pass the New Hampshire House.

Annoyed especially since it passed the Senate hours earlier.

Annoyed not in its failure alone, but annoyed that none of this had to happen in the first place!

The reason it failed, after initially passing the House with its original language, is that representatives were irked with Gov. Lynch for meddling. He added superfluous language to protect religious institutions, when protections for the religious were already present.

This was a ploy to gain political points and to appease the right-wing angry at him for agreeing to sign the bill.

The irony is that the marriage equality opponents are celebrating the bill's current defeat when in fact the representatives were voting AGAINST added protections FOR them.

Are they dumb enough not to realize that it's in their best interests that this changed version be passed?

When they forced a vote in the chamber to kill the bill altogether, they were soundly defeated with a 173-202 - this should be a sign to them that the House supports the earlier version. The version with less protection for them. The version the representatives, who voted against the governor's changes, are saying they'll protect with a vote to override the governor's potential veto.

For instance, pro-marriage equality Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, commented online before the vote on the changed bill:


As a long standing Republican supporter of gay marriage (one of seven), I will vote to override the Governor's veto, but I will not vote for any further changes done not in the interest of equality for all people but done for Lynch's opinion poll numbers and his attempt to be on both sides of an issue at once. If the "fix" bill fails to get Republican support, it will fail. It will not have my support. If he vetoes, we should override, not keep tinkering.
So thanks to groups like the National Organization for Marriage (not a link to their site, but an email blast they sent), this whole effort for equality will now be dragged out longer because attempts were made to appease them when they'll never be happy - ever - if LGBT people are allowed to marry.

However, there is hope. The bill is in committee where a compromise can hopefully be forged between the Senate and the House over the next ten days. If not, hopefully enough votes can be collected to override the expected veto.


David Badash at the New Civil Rights Movement has an amazing list of actions that you or your friends who live in New Hampshire can perform, most importantly calling the legislators to hear your support for marriage equality.


Read New York Times, "Setback to Gay Marriage in New Hampshire".


  1. You're right that NH legislators were irked that Gov. Lynch meddled. They're right. This bill should not be passed with that amendment. The Gov. is not a legislator. I want marriage equality in NH, but not with this amendment giving way to much power to religious institutions. This amendment will hurt us in the long run and I'm glad the house stood up against it.

  2. It only lost by two votes. It's a gamble, but hopefully it pays off.