Monday, December 14, 2009

Irony in New Hampshire: Two Repeal Proposals "Threaten" Marriage

So remember our great victory in New Hampshire back in June? After a tumultuous ride the state's marriage equality bill passed and the governor signed it into law. Starting January 1 the law will go into effect and same-sex couples will begin marrying in New Hampshire.

Back in November I reported that those who opposed the bill are not giving up and have introduced a repeal. On Friday the original sponsor of the marriage equality bill, Rep. Jim Splaine, posted on Blue Hampshire that the repeal has been given a number: House Bill 1590, "An Act Repealing Same Sex Marriage."

Rep. Splaine says, "It will be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, where after a public hearing HB 436 [marriage equality bill] had been reported out with 'no recommendation' after a 10-10 tie. Since then, however, we have picked up at least two members of that committee who now support marriage equality."

He goes on to say encouragingly, "We can beat this. We already have had some Legislative meetings to lay out our strategy, and we will be having more."

New Hampshire HB 1590 - An ACT Repealing Same-sex Marriage

You can check on the status of this bill here.

Here's where the irony comes in - two New Hampshire House representatives are introducing a repeal to the 200-year-old state law that makes adultery a crime. Punishments once included standing on the gallows for an hour with a noose around the neck, 39 lashes, a year in jail or a fine of 100 pounds - but these have been reduced to a $1,200 fine.

"We shouldn't be regulating people's sex lives and their love lives," state Rep. Timothy Horrigan and bill sponsor told the AP. "This is one area the state government should stay out of people's bedrooms."

I couldn't agree more. But then his colleagues are at the same time trying to do just that by introducing a repeal to a law that keeps government out of same-sex couples' bedrooms. In other words, his colleagues want government in people's bedrooms. Or at least, in gay and lesbian bedrooms. And they don't get the irony in that their actions threaten existing marriages. Yes, that's right - these people are threatening the institute of marriage!

I agree with the repeal of the law that punishes adultery - it should be left up to the civil courts to enforce divorce laws which protect the rights of married couples to separate. But isn't it rather embarrassing that within this same body of legislators some want to take these rights away from other citizens they represent? Because with the right to marry also comes the right to divorce.

I'm not too concerned about the marriage equality repeal - the sponsors have a reputation of leaning to the right just a tad, and they showed their true colors back in June when the marriage bill passed.

But you would think that this would put marriage equality opponents in a pickle. Kind of like in California, where a satirical divorce ban has been introduced to "protect traditional marriage." But you would be wrong.

Kevin Smith, executive director of the conservative Cornerstone Policy Research, said, "Even though this criminal law probably is not enforced right now and probably has not been enforced for some time, I think it's important to have a public policy statement that says generally or in all situations adultery is not a good thing. And I think, by repealing that statute, you're essentially diminishing the harmful effects of adultery."

Riiight. Because it's kept people from divorcing this whole time, protecting those traditional marriages.

Those who oppose marriage equality must really think New Hampshire is the den of iniquity, ripping to shreds traditional marriage. In one year they have legalized same-sex marriage which degrades what marriage is truly all about, and now they want to give "traiditional" couples an easy way out of those "til death to us part" vows! God forbid, what's next?! Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Makes your skin crawl, doesn't it?


  1. I don't understand why you keep hyping this non-story. There is no chance that both houses of the NH legislature and the NH governor, who just passed marriage equality 6 months ago, would now repeal what they just publicly supported. This is grandstanding by a conservative legislator who wants to curry favor and campaign cash from the religious right. That's all.

    Any legislator can introduce any bill and get a number for it, even if the bill has no chance of passage. This is nothing but a distraction from NJ and the urgent need to defeat 2 or 3 of the 8 turncoats in the NY Senate.

  2. You call this post "hyping"? Wow, then you're lucky, because you must not experience real hyping which is rather annoying. I read this post as being rather humorous.

    But putting that aside, I think it's always important to call out any action that's being made against our rights, whether or not it has any chance of success. Since Rep. Splaine is talking about strategy to combat this bill, it's good to know how we may be able to help if necessary.

    So choose where you want to put your focus, but why criticize those who are reporting on actual efforts to take away our rights? Your carping makes no sense.

  3. The whole point of my carping is that this NH story is not an "actual effort to take away our rights". It is a PR and cash-raising stunt by an individual legislator. This is the second post that UTF has done on this. Covering it doesn't help our cause, it only enhances the credibility of this legislator's ploy. Also, time, resources and attention are limited. Any time and resources spent responding to this nonsense is time and resources not defending against real threats in DC and Iowa. So that is why I carp.

  4. Is that you, Steven? LOL.

    Just doing my job on reporting what's out there and pointing out the hypocrisy of our opponents. I don't think giving two posts to the repeal developments in NH gives it credibility as you claim, but it does help make the community aware.

    I'm not about to start ignoring opposition efforts in the hopes that they'll go away. Also, I agree that time and resources are limited, but it's our community's right to know what is happening and then judicially decide how to spend those resources.

    You've already decided for yourself how to use your time, and that's great. Those in New Hampshire may want to know what's happening in their own neck of the woods and then decide for themselves.

    So I report.