Overwhelmingly Republican Legislature Votes Measure Down
Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down legislation that would have repealed the state’s two-year-old freedom to marry law along with a key vote to defeat the Bates Amendment, which would have forced a non-binding referendum on marriage onto the November ballot and replaced marriage with civil unions. The final bill was defeated by a vote of 211 to 116 and the Bates Amendment by a vote of 162 to 188. Stripping away the freedom to marry in New Hampshire was a top priority of national anti-gay organizations, which had predicted that they would be able to garner the vote of two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to override the promised veto by Governor John Lynch.
Below is a statement from Freedom to Marry’s National Campaign Director Marc Solomon:
“Live Free or Die is alive and well in New Hampshire. Today’s vote affirms that Granite Staters stand strongly against stripping away freedoms from any of their neighbors.
“Our opponents tried to abuse the 2010 Republican legislative sweep in New Hampshire to repeal the popular law. What they didn’t count on was the fact that the freedom to marry is becoming a bipartisan value, as resoundingly reflected in today’s vote.
“We are grateful to Governor John Lynch for his principled defense of the freedom to marry law, and to the many lawmakers—both Republican and Democrat—who listened carefully to their constituents and recognized that New Hampshire is stronger when all committed couples can share in the freedom to marry.
“Freedom to Marry is proud to be part of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, a bipartisan group of citizens, business owners, people of faith, and civic leaders for mounting an exceptionally effective campaign to highlight the voices of Granite Staters from every walk of life who opposed repealing the popular marriage law. We especially thank Standing Up co-chairs Lew Feldstein and Craig Stowell for their stalwart leadership.”
Freedom to Marry is a founding board member of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families and invested significant leadership and staff resources to protect the state’s freedom to marry law. Freedom to Marry was also the largest financial investor in the campaign.
On multiple occasions, national anti-gay organizations such as the so-called National Organization for Marriage marketed themselves as committed to overturning the freedom to marry in New Hampshire, as well as in DC, Iowa, and New York:
NOM’s President, Brian Brown, said the organization is “poised to start taking back territory…in places like New Hampshire. That will be the next battleground, and we are confident of victory.”
Maggie Gallagher, the chair of NOM’s board, said in July of 2011 that “New Hampshire is gonna vote to reverse gay marriage in January, I would predict.”
Just after the 2010 elections, the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. vowed to do “whatever it takes” to repeal gay marriage in New Hampshire.
Only seven Republicans in the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted in favor of the freedom to marry law in 2009; today, however, approximately 100 voted not to repeal the law.