Gay Marriage | New Hampshire | News

NH House Sends Marriage Equality Bill to Committee After Defeat

Nh New Hampshire's marriage equality bill has been stopped in its tracks:

"The Senate passed the changes 14-10 Wednesday, but the House failed to agree later in the day by a vote of 188-186. Opponents tried to kill the bill, but failed. The House then voted 207-168 to ask the Senate to negotiate a compromise. Gov. John Lynch said last week he wouldn’t sign the legislation without language to better protect churches and their employees against lawsuits if their beliefs preclude them from marrying gays."

So, the bill is still alive. It's going to take some more work, and a revote within the next two weeks is possible.

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  1. How utterly disappointing.

    Posted by: bucky | May 20, 2009 4:17:23 PM

  2. From AMERICAblog:

    "All is not lost. There should be another vote. And, there are 400 members of the New Hampshire House. Yes, 400. So, clearly, over 20 were absent today. We'll keep an eye on this one."

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | May 20, 2009 4:19:12 PM

  3. johninmanhattan, your comment in the Prop 8 post was needlessly alarmist. NH is not "lost". It looks bad, but it's not over. My guess is the compromise will just add more redundant "protection" clauses.

    Posted by: K | May 20, 2009 4:26:09 PM

  4. Am confused. Who switched sides to make this fail?

    Posted by: William | May 20, 2009 4:29:30 PM


    Search "Steve V". That's our answer as to why this happened...politics.

    Posted by: Bruno | May 20, 2009 4:45:05 PM

  6. What failed was the governor's religious protection amendment to the bill. After the House rejected the governor's change, their only choices were to kill the amendment (which would likely have killed the governor's support) or attempt to negotiate a compromise with the Senate. They chose the latter. Now we have to wait till they work it out. Hopefully, this fussing over the excessive religious protections won't kill the momentum and do in the bill. I would think those legislators who voted yes to begin with would do their best to make it happen. Fingers crossed.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 20, 2009 4:52:33 PM

  7. this is why we can't let up until it's a done deal. it ain't over til it's over, they say. yet time and again lgbt people are so complacent and apathetic. they only wake up when damage is afflicted. worried about american idol today, talking about carrie prejean tomorrow, and "what am i gonna wear at the club tonight?" and you don't even know your state's senator or representative... and then you complain when this kind of thing happens? please. i'm not saying people should be serious all the time. or that they can't have fun. i'm saying we should have priorities. and imho, the priorities for many of us are just so upside down!

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | May 20, 2009 5:15:23 PM

  8. They aren't voting against marriage, they are voting against the Governor's REDUDANT religious protections.

    Not only do they see the amendment as redundant, since religious leaders and organizations can't be forced to marry ANYONE they don't want to anyway, but they are also concerned about how far these "protections" go. For example, does this amendment give a Catholic hospital the right to refuse a same sex spouse's right to make medical decisions on behalf of his/her husband/wife?

    I think they're challenge is legitimate and should be further debated and resolved.

    I feel very confident that this is merely a small bump in the road to marriage equality. This should be a done deal within a few weeks.

    Posted by: Zeke | May 20, 2009 5:16:34 PM

  9. Make that "REDUNDANT".

    Posted by: Zeke | May 20, 2009 5:17:34 PM

  10. "this is why we can't let up until it's a done deal. it ain't over til it's over, they say. yet time and again lgbt people are so complacent and apathetic."

    Who's letting up? I'm sure that NH Freedom to Marry and its volunteers have no plans to let up, any more than we were willing to let up amid the setbacks in VT. It's insulting to the people of NH who have worked as hard as the people of VT and ME to make New England a marriage equality zone. Branding all gay people as interested only in American Idol (believe it or not, one can appreciate pop culture AND be an activist) neglects all the work that went into getting the bill on the governor's desk. There is certainly room to criticize the gay community for complacency, but I don't see what happened today--rejecting a governor's amendment--as an example of that at all.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 20, 2009 5:39:36 PM

  11. Regardless of what the outcome is, I find it very demeaning that we even have to go through this process.

    Posted by: arturo | May 20, 2009 5:48:18 PM

  12. This was killed by OUR side, with at least one gay rep switching his vote because he felt bullied by the governor taking religious protections too far. It's not JUST about exempting religious people from having to officiate -- that's not controversial at all. I suspect what they objected to was the following paragraph:

    "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of his or her religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society."

    That would probably cover something like the New Jersey gazebo case, where they got tax exemptions and leased it to the public for weddings, but not to gay couples. Would it affect, say, a Catholic hospital granting visitation rights? Looks like it might to me. Adoption services? It just sounds very broad.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | May 20, 2009 5:51:02 PM

  13. I agree with Arturo.

    You either have equality or you don't. It's that simple. And right now we don't have equality.

    Posted by: Observer1000 | May 20, 2009 5:57:24 PM

  14. Is it still even possible that the earlier version of the bill becomes law without signature. Just how does that work anyways?

    Posted by: Stephen | May 20, 2009 6:27:33 PM

  15. NO, the governor has said he will VETO the bill unless it's amended. They barely have the votes to pass the bill in any form, let alone override a veto, so if the amendments are not passed in conference, it's over. I doubt they will me any more courageous next year, an election year.

    Posted by: Javier | May 20, 2009 8:00:28 PM

  16. Javier, I was referring to the whole "let it become a law without a signature in five days." I have no clue how that works, since I always assumed that a lack of a signature meant a veto...

    Posted by: Stephen | May 20, 2009 10:31:43 PM

  17. Stephen: Not signing a bill means it becomes law. However, the time frame to sign or veto has not started as the bill was purposely withheld from Lynch's desk at his request. This is the original bill. There is another separate bill which adds some language that Lynch wanted...that's the one that was rejected in a game of politics by the NH House.

    The bill's language should easily be reconciled and pass both houses within the next 2 weeks. The question then is will that language be good enough for Lynch. i.e. Will the political football with LGBT rights cease?

    Posted by: Bruno | May 21, 2009 5:28:21 AM

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  19. Comments by KEVINVT and OBSERVER are completely idiotic. I dont know what else to say. You people clearly have not read the Governor's language. Not only are your comments idiotic and wrong, they are dangerous because they misinform the public and turn gay people against a bill that they should be supporting.

    Please read my comments from the earlier post about the governor's statement. Nothing in the new language would allow a catholic hospital to refuse visitation from a same-sex spouse. You people assume that anti-discrimination laws are the norm. The norm is that people get to interact and engage with whomever they want for whatever reason they want. Anti-discrimination laws are the exception to this general rule.

    Posted by: Anon | May 21, 2009 3:07:57 PM

  20. I know I sounds alarmist but this is a huge setback to marriage equality generally. The only way we can advance is if we stick together and make certain compromises. I personally don't see the religious protections as a compromise at all and I am perfectly happy to see them in the bill. But for those who would rather not have those express protections you must join with the common cause. This is how all social movements ultimately die: an extremist , uncompromising wing cares more about "purity" than success.

    After the Civil War the Republicans in Congress were set to pass a crucial bill to fund Black schools in the South. But a small group of well-meaning radical Republicans refused to approve the measure since the bill did not require the desegregation of the schools. Black southern schools went largely unfunded for the next 70 years. How was this helpful? It did nothing to encourage desegregation but instead deprived Black children of a proper education.

    People who seek "purity" instead of real tangible success are bound to fail. Look at the current Republican party!

    Posted by: anon | May 21, 2009 3:18:16 PM

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