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New Hampshire's Pro-Equality Governor John Lynch Won't Seek Reelection


Governor John Lynch, who signed New Hampshire's marriage equality bill into law in June 2009, won't seek another term, the AP reports:

Lynch made the announcement Thursday, months ahead of the state's June filing period, putting at rest speculation about his intentions and opening up the field. The popular 58-year-old governor survived a GOP sweep of the state's top offices in 2010. Many believe he's the most formidable Democratic candidate the party could offer.

Just yesterday, a New Hampshire House Judiciary panel voted 3-1 to advance a bill that would repeal the state's marriage equality law. Not a good week for equality in the Granite State.

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  1. I'm sure he has his reasons, but why do so many Dems and allies just give up?

    Posted by: Karl | Sep 15, 2011 1:16:11 PM

  2. Ugh. I don't like this news. Things are going to get very ugly in my neighbor to the east--the anti-equality forces, including NOM, will be pouring $$$$ into the state since they know marriage isn't secure there. It will be one nasty 2012 in NH.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 15, 2011 1:28:18 PM

  3. Knowing people in NH, I was surprised that the bill for gay marriage passed at all. The younger generation of guys that I spoke to were very...ummmm...not gay friendly?

    I'll say my prayers and hope it works out for NH.

    Instead of praying the gay away, I'll be praying the gay to stay.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 15, 2011 1:34:59 PM

  4. Not good news and the governor I'm sure knows it. There's something very wrong with a system that allows referenda to take away rights signed into law. I don't know any other western society where this happens. It's not a very stable system. It shouldn't matter if a legislature or a court passes a law, it should be binding and not subject to repeal. Mob rule is not democracy which is what this action is.

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Sep 15, 2011 1:49:44 PM

  5. @RIN I agree. New Hampshire has historically been a Republican state and was the only state in the Northeast that went for Dubya over Gore in 2000. That has changed somewhat recently, due primarily to the influx into southern New Hampshire of Boston-area commuters, but it still is far more conservative than the rest of New England.

    Regardless, there is clearly no national consensus in favor of same-sex marriage at this point, so I personally think putting all this effort into it this early is premature at best......doing so is part of what has prompted 70% of the states to enact Constitutional bans on it and those are going to be next to impossible to un-do in the absence of a sweeping decision from the US Supreme Court, which I don't see happening with the court's current composition.....and if Obama loses in 2012, it might be another generation before we see a Court that would be willing to take that step.......

    Very risky strategy if you ask me.....

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 15, 2011 2:09:29 PM

  6. @ Rick

    I actually think I agree with you on what you've said.

    I was talking to someone the other day and said that if I were on some gay rights strategy team I would allow the DADT to sit for 2 years and then start up the gay marriage push because once people see that it doesn't destroy the military they will learn to quit being so spooky about it.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 15, 2011 2:15:10 PM

  7. @Rick

    You're from New England, right? I have a question. I have friends in Maine, Vermont, NH, and Mass... I find it completely strange that Massachusetts (not Vermont) has gay marriage and is so pro-gay rights since most of the men I have met from Mass are, well, Massholes.

    They are homophobic, rude, and think gay marriage is a mistake.

    Whereas Maine, where it didn't pass, when I speak to people there they said they didn't care if gay Mainers got married, but they didn't want too many people From Away moving up--which is what they believe will happen if the law passes.

    As you actually get into the nitty gritty, Mainers are more pro-equality than the other states. Explain to me how it is that Mass got gay marriage and they completely screwed up Maine?

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 15, 2011 2:20:15 PM

  8. @RIN I am not actually from New England, although I have spent a lot of time in the region and therefore know it pretty well.

    Massachusetts has always been a mystery to me. It seems on the surface to be quite liberal, but it does, as you pointed out, have this sort of "underbelly" that is rawly anti-progressive in a blue-collar sort of way. Maybe analogous to the contradictions you saw in Ted Kennedy (and his brothers)--strongly supportive of feminism and gay rights, on the one hand, but a huge womanizer who cheated constantly on his wife and objectified women at the same time, on the other hand.

    Maybe it's an Irish thing? I dunno.

    I actually asked a life-long resident of Lexington a few years ago who was showing me around town how it was that the state evolved from Puritanism that was so strict that the term "Banned in Boston" became almost a national cliche to being the only state that went for George McGovern in '72 and the first to legalize gay marriage....and he just kind of chuckled and could not really give much of an answer.

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 15, 2011 2:32:28 PM

  9. Rin: Your comments on Mass guys are simply subjective. I know plenty of guys from there who are pro-equality and don't care. It depends on who you know. If there was a vote, it would not be repealed (I believe 60% approve of it and 30% disapprove). And by the way, Vermont does actually have marriage equality.

    We have to be ever vigilant in New Hampshire. We need to hear from the local LGBT orgs and already married couples to see how we outside of NH can help them out. Don't wait until 2012, keep a bright spotlight on this starting now

    Posted by: Jollysocks | Sep 15, 2011 2:38:37 PM

  10. We need a major national publication/tv show to do a study on states like massachusetts where marriage equality has been the norm. I bet the advent of marriage for all has had little to no impact on the overall divorce rate, marriage rate or, most important to conservatives perhaps, no impact on children "turning gay."

    Again the so called "liberal media" is not so liberal, it is far more interested in perpetuating the drama.

    The truth is out there. Marriage equality has been the norm in many places now. It's too bad the truth is boring. But it's important because the fact that there's no story means the conservatives have no case to prevent it.

    Posted by: dms | Sep 15, 2011 3:20:17 PM

  11. @Jollysocks

    I know Vermont does and that Vermonters are overwhelmingly supportive of equality, hence why I excluded them and talked about Mass.

    I know a lot of guys in Mass who are liberal but then you start talking to them after a few beers and they still say homophobic things to each other, and then I know some flat out homophobes who say "queah" like its the verb "to be".

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 15, 2011 3:38:50 PM

  12. It appears virtually certain marriage equality will be gone in New Hampshire within a couple of years. Very sad news.

    Posted by: ken | Sep 15, 2011 3:58:20 PM

  13. @Rin: A few fact corrections: MA has marriage equality due to a 2003 MA Supreme Court ruling; the homophobes were not able to overturn it. (Unlike in CA, it's not easy to do so there.) VT was the 1st state to have CUs (also due to a court decision) and the first to successfully pass a marriage equality bill in 2009 over the veto of our Republican governor. So, we have marriage equality, and it's here to stay, as it is in MA, CT, and in all likelihood NY and IA and DC.

    ME passed marriage equality, it was signed into law, then overturned in a voter referendum. This has happened before with gay rights in ME; they are not more pro-equality than other NE states. They currently have a very conservative governor.

    NH, too, has both a conservative and a libertarian streak. The best chance of preserving marriage there is to elect Democrats and to point out that the Republicans and anti-gay forces are wasting time and resources, going against NH's live and let live values. If marriage is overturned in NH, a 2-tier system will form with some gay couples already married (those marriages would likely remain legal) and the rest unable to marry. Such a division is unconstitutional, as it was in CA. If NH voters think about this, they will leave equality intact. But many voters don't think.

    BTW, re: divorce rates. Post "gay marriage" (marriage equality) MA has had the lowest divorce rate in the country. The highest divorce rates are in the red and "religious" states.

    Marriage equality is not premature. Those who wait to fight for their civil rights will never have them. 15 years ago marriage equality seemed impossible in my state. Now, it's a given and supported by a healthy majority. Why? Because we fought for it. Federal equality will come through the Court, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be fought at the state level--every state that passes and maintains equality helps the federal cause.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 15, 2011 3:59:08 PM

  14. Oops, our comments overlapped, Rin. From your earlier comment, I thought you were implying that VT didn't have equality, rather than that equality is no longer an issue in VT, which is true. My misinterpretation.

    But, as I said, the security of equality depends on how it came about, how easy it is to overturn, depending on the state, as well as each state's political climate. (Republican majorities obstruct equality.) The longer equality is in place, the harder it is to overturn, because it advertises itself: no one's life is affected except for gay couples who can marry and form stronger family units. People adapt and move on, even most homophobes. There is, of course, no rational reason not to support equality.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 15, 2011 4:11:45 PM

  15. @Ernie,

    I'm not saying that Maine is "pro-gay". I'm saying Maine is "pro-I-don't-care-what-you-do-as-long-as-it-doesn't-scare-the-horses".

    I've got a lot of ties to that state including with gay Mainers. Every Mainer (that's someone whose family is from Maine and was born in Maine) that I spoke to, including the gay Mainers said that had people From Away not come in to "help" the GLBT cause it would have passed.

    This is why their new policy is to get 3-8th generation Mainers to go door to door. The did a lot of polls afterwards and the problem isn't with "gays and lesbians" marrying. They are strongly civil libertarians. They don't want an influx of new people moving in and changing things from "slow" to "Massachusetts fast".

    As for marriage equality being premature, I don't believe that the right thing is ever premature. We should always thirst for what is good and right. I agreed with Rick that the early push, however, has caused states to do these ridiculous anti-gay marriage movements because they are afraid. That's the reality, but it doesn't make it "right".

    Gays deserve to marry yesterday, IMO. I'm just wondering if it wouldn't be prudent to build coalitions, watch that the world doesn't end with DADT repeal, and then push for a Federal marriage amendment.

    State by state isn't really advantageous since gay couples still must file double the forms because the Federal government doesn't legalize it.

    Posted by: Rin | Sep 15, 2011 4:13:47 PM

  16. @Rin: I also have close ties to Mainers fighting for equality there--a close straight male friend was deeply involved with the successful push to get marriage passed. The problem in ME has always been the ease with which (heinous) referendums overturn civil rights. It's easier for people to run scared and vote no, and they did, as they did on prior LGBT civil rights laws in ME. (Homophobes vote.) Eventually they pass, but it takes a long while in ME. And I agree, local gay Mainers and their allies going door to door, fair to fair, forum to forum, is how it gets done. The referendum process makes it difficult, however, and the crazy anti-gay governor isn't helping.

    As for moving towards federal marriage equality, the truth is we need all of the above: the movement in the states (why should gay families who can secure equality within their state wait?), in the courts, and in the court of public opinion. What many don't understand is that state equality is feeding the federal challenges to DOMA and changing the DOJ under Obama--without equality in several states, the DOMA cases wouldn't be moving through the courts, and the tide of public opinion, particularly among the young, wouldn't be changing as rapidly as it is. There was division in the gay legal community about the wisdom of the Prop 8 legal challenge, but equality in 6 states plus DC (and CA again, fingers crossed) is indisputably better for the movement than waiting for DADT to sit for a few years, or doing nothing at the state level.

    Again, showing that the sky doesn't fall after equality is the best advertisement for further equality, both legally and culturally. Sections of DOMA have already been found unconstitutional because of the state fights.

    Posted by: Ernie | Sep 15, 2011 5:28:51 PM

  17. Ernie's right (as usual).

    The problem in Maine wasn't that there were actual out of state people working for equality, but that that claim could be made by the anti-equality folks. That's always the claim: we don't have any local gay people, they're all from out of state, out of country, perhaps from Mars or the Moon. We know better, but that's what the opposition will always claim.

    And they have much much more money than we do. So the irony is that you have anti-gay outsiders spending HUGE amounts of $$$ in places like Maine and then trying not to disclose where their money comes from. But they claim it's the gay people that are from outside.

    So that's what NH has to look forward to, unfortunately.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Sep 15, 2011 7:52:17 PM

  18. @ Rick

    New Hampshire native, here. Yes, there have been demographic shifts in New Hampshire in the past 10 years, but many of the people moving from Mass tend to be more conservative than their Boston suburbs counterparts. In fact, if you look at the map of red/blue, the most liberal county is northern Grafton county (which has far fewer Mass people) and the most conservative is Belknap, which is primarily wealthy lakeside capitalist-class folks. The southern counties, however, also tend to be a little redder. New Hampshire was traditionally a old-line Republican state, closer to Eisenhower than to Bush (we didn't vote for Bush in 2004 after he showed his colours) and the tendency is above all live-and-let-live.

    Posted by: J in China | Sep 16, 2011 6:12:42 AM

  19. "There's something very wrong with a system that allows referenda to take away rights signed into law. I don't know any other western society where this happens."


    Posted by: Javier | Sep 16, 2011 10:54:45 AM

  20. The comment that Massachusetts residents are "massholes" and against equality is just stupid. Poll after poll shows strong support for marriage equality, so I'd use that as the barometer rather than a few chats in a working class bar in south boston. Western Massachusetts has a huge lesbian population and has for a long time, making that half of the state comfortable with gay marriage. And the large number of colleges and universities ensure a big base of support as well. You can add the influence of very pro gay Congregational and Unitarian churches, the largest protestant denominations in the state,as further help for the cause.

    Posted by: Brian | Sep 16, 2011 12:27:01 PM

  21. How to make people see
    There is nothing one can do to make US citizens see the truth. The USA has become so big that it has lost sight of it’s own people. If one speaks up: his character is marked as looking for fifteen minutes of fame, looking to make money or just a criminal trying to distort the truth for self-gain. The NH Supreme Court now protects brother Judge/Attorneys by diminishing our guaranteed rights as citizens of the USA. Everyone has learned to conform or compromise to keep from being marked as a troublemaker. Freedom of speech has become speak nice so your message does not harm the powerful. The truth is so distorted by the news media no one can understand life is just passing you by. US military Veterans coming home even today find help is hard to get for the simple reason we as a nation have become so big it has lost sight of is own citizens.
    A 100% disabled US Military Veteran (Me) with PTSD, TBI, broken back and loss of hearing writes letters everyday. So few pick apart my letters as gibberish, rambling, a mental case that no one hears my words for fear of their own character. The VA calls me a mental case unable to make since so I am cast aside as a stray dog left like the homeless on the street. The NH government calls me a danger to public safety for the sole purpose to take my freedom with public gratification. My medical care is stopped to teach me to obey government authority. No one hears my words for I am a mental case from what I did to keep you the citizens of the USA free under the control of your own government.
    I volunteer my time to help a Madbury NH family that I did not even know that called to ask for help. The NH Supreme Court refuses to hear a case clearly documented of judge Peter Fauver criminally violating the Constitution to enable the Madbury NH selectmen to take from local residents with the trusted power of government for personal self gain. Law enforcement harassment and judicial miss conduct put me in jail as a terrorist under the patriot act.
    Publicly my letters are read around the world but nothing can be done. The VA ignores with their finger on the death button in hope of suicide. The elected officials use law enforcement intimidation to cause acts to take my freedom to satisfy public inquires. Hopeless, lost and nothing can be done as the words of US Military Veterans no one hears as you tell us that you are listening.
    The number of times prominent citizens have told me in a civilized society we talk that violence is not necessary. US Military Veterans coming home even today are lost in a system that just is too big to see us. No one sees my disabilities as to believe veterans take advantage of government handouts.
    I am classified as so big of a danger my words are censored by the news media to protect the public. Can the USA be so big that the individual no longer matters? You have no idea what the life of a US Military Combat Veteran is until you have been in our shoes. To make people see must be to stop the news media from censoring a disabled veterans words of the VA stopping medical care for the sole purpose of government retribution.
    Peter Macdonald Sgt USMC Semper Fi
    465 Packers falls Rd Lee NH 03824

    Posted by: Peter | Jan 11, 2012 8:53:26 AM

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