In an excellent editorial published today in the Sea Coast Online, gay New Hampshire State Rep. Jim Splaine demolishes one of the most common attacks on marriage equality mounted by bigots in his home state: That marriage equality was forced upon New Hampshire by shadowy outside operators, possibly from San Francisco:
3,722 people who call New Hampshire "home" — our neighbors and friends, co-workers and family members — [are] making a commitment to share their love and caring for one another in marriage. A pretty decent thing for the "Live Free or Die" state.
But there are those who want to go backward. They want to repeal marriage. And there's a myth being promoted by those who oppose marriage equality. They say it was "brought" or "pushed onto" New Hampshire by out-of-state interests. They know better, but in their advertising they feel that such an untruth (I could call it worse) is persuasive.
I can attest first-hand to the fact that no one from out-of-state — no organization or individual — asked me to introduce either the civil unions bill in 2007 or gay marriage in 2009. Nor did any organization, group or political party within the state. Those of us who love New Hampshire and wanted to stop discrimination in marriage fought for change.
New Hampshire's Republican-controlled state legislature will meet on February 17th to discuss House Bill 437, which would repeal marriage equality and invalidate the same-sex unions that have been sanctified in the state since January 1st, 2010. HB 437 isn't a matter of political expedience — polls suggest that well over half of all New Hampshirites support equality, and that only about a fifth strongly oppose it. (Some New Hampshire legislators have gone to extraordinary lengths to alter this political reality, but so far to no avail.) Rather, HB 437 is the result of a genuine, gut-level dislike for the LGBT community, as may be divined from the image above, which is featured prominently at nhmarriage.org.
There are reasons to hope that personal repugnance will be an insufficient political motivator in 2012. The New Hampshire Republican party is itself divided on the issue of marriage equality, thanks to the state party's strong libertarian bent. Unless they pull together a veto-proof majority, Gov. John Lynch pleadges to kill any anti-marriage legislation to cross his desk.