New Hampshire State Rep. David Bates on
Tuesday altered course in his campaign to end gay marriage in the
state, the Portsmouth
Bates, who last year introduced, then
withdrew, a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment
defining marriage as a heterosexual union, is now calling for a
non-binding ballot question on whether the state should replace
marriage for gay couples with civil unions.
At a press conference, Bates, a
Republican, said he would offer the referendum as an amendment to his
already introduced bill which would repeal the 2-year-old law. The
legislation would allow any two unmarried adults, including
relatives, to enter a civil union. If approved, New Hampshire would
become the first state to legislatively overturn marriage equality.
Bates, an ardent opponent of marriage
equality who has bankrolled
a campaign to promote his bill, said the amendment would end
criticism that his bill failed to protect the nearly 1,900 existing
marriages of gay couples.
An October survey found few New
Hampshire voters (27%) in favor of repeal. Bates has disputed the
accuracy of such polls.
“There will be no more guessing, no
more arguing or debating over dueling polls, just the actual voice of
the people telling us what their will is on this issue,” Bates told
“I am ready to accept the will of the
people. Now let's see if those on the other side of this debate will
do the same. Or are the homosexual activists only interested in
pushing through their own agenda without regard for the will of the
people of this state?” (The video is embedded in the right panel
of this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
If approved, the bill would replace gay
marriage with civil unions effective March 31, 2013. That is,
provided voters approve the change in November.