A New Hampshire panel on Wednesday
okayed a bill that would repeal the state's 18-month-old gay marriage
law, the Union
A subcommittee of the House Judiciary
Committee voted 3-1 in favor of HB 437 after removing some of its
The original form of the bill repealed
the gay marriage law and outlawed civil unions. The bill's new
language would allow both gay couples and heterosexual couples to
enter a civil union.
If approved, the bill would not effect
the marriages of gay and lesbian couples who have already tied the
knot, but would stop new couples from marrying.
In March, the House Judiciary Committee
voted unanimously to hold off on the legislation until the following
legislative session. Republican leaders had urged the committee to
shelve the bills, insisting social issues must take a back seat to
the state's fiscal crisis.
The move came after the committee held
a public hearing on the issue in which a majority of the six hundred
people in attendance said they were opposed to repeal of the law,
which went into effect on January 1, 2010.
At the hearing, opponents of the law
testified that they fear the institution because it
would lead to disease and polygamy.
The law was signed by Democratic
Governor John Lynch, who has vowed to veto any repeal attempt.
Republicans, however, gained veto-proof majorities in both chambers
during last year's general election.
The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, worked
against Lynch's reelection, arguing that he lied to constituents in
2006 when he said he opposed marriage equality.