The New Hampshire House is expected on
Wednesday to vote on a bill which would repeal the state's 2-year-old
gay marriage law.
House Rep. David Bates last year
introduced a bill which would make New Hampshire the first state to
legislatively overturn such a law.
The bill would replace marriage with
civil unions for any unmarried adults, including relatives, and would
allow anyone to refuse to recognize such unions.
Bates' bill has faced delays reaching
the House floor for a vote. It was shelved last year after lawmakers
held highly emotional public hearings. And House Majority Leader
D.J. Bettencourt kept it at bay this session in order to deal with
“critical economic-related legislation” first.
“For more than two years, we've been
working toward this moment,” said Brian Brown, the president of the
National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most
vociferous opponent of gay marriage. “Thanks to your hard work and
dedication, a majority in both houses now supports marriage and we
are optimistic about next Wednesday's vote.”
While Republicans control both the
House and Senate, a two-thirds majority is needed to override a
promised veto by Democratic Governor John Lynch, who signed the gay
marriage bill in 2009.
Several libertarian-leaning Republicans
have said repeal runs counter to their ideology. On Sunday,
Republican Rep. Seth Cohn said he does not believe there is
sufficient support to get around the governor.
“I know for a fact, based on people
I've talked to, that if Gov. Lynch vetoes it, that veto is not
override-able,” Cohn told the Concord
An October survey found few New
Hampshire voters (27%) in favor of repeal.
Roughly 2,000 gay and lesbian couples
have married since the law took effect.