New Hampshire House Majority Leader David J. “D.J.” Bettencourt wants an effort to repeal gay marriage delayed until 2012.

The Republican told the Associated Press that he plans to ask the committee responsible for the repeal bill to shelve it until next year.

Last week, Bettencourt raised the ire of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that has won repeal battles in Maine and California, when he said the issue was not part of the House Republican agenda.

NOM responded by blanketing his district with mailers saying he doesn't support traditional family values.

“This assault on our agenda has the potential to take important focus and energy away from our focus on the budget,” Bettencourt wrote in a letter to House Speaker William O'Brien. “Therefore, it is my belief that the same-sex marriage repeal must be retained in the Judiciary Committee this year so that our full and undivided attention is focused on New Hampshire's outstanding financial issues.”

The bill's main sponsor, Rep. David Bates, a Republican from Windham, disagreed, saying the budget is not the only important issue on the legislative agenda.

“As much as we're making that a priority, there are all kinds of things going on,” Bates said.

Democratic Governor John Lynch has vowed to veto any attempt to repeal the law but Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers.