New Hampshire governor delays confirmation vote

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 07 2003 1:00 AM ET

New Hampshire governor Craig Benson says he needs another couple of weeks to decide what to do about his nominee to the Human Rights Commission. Three of the five members of the executive council oppose confirming Gary Daniels to the post because of antigay comments Daniels made when he was a state representative. Benson did not ask the council to vote on the nomination at a regular council meeting Wednesday. The governor said he has been focusing on the state budget and hasn't looked into the Daniels nomination in light of the opposition that arose after he nominated him last month. "I need some more time to address this," Benson told reporters.

Benson said he was not aware of all Daniels's comments, which Daniels made while arguing against a bill that would extend civil rights protections to gay men and lesbians. "I was not aware of all of the comments he has made in any context, by and large," he said. "But I know he has the respect of a lot of people and has done a great job for the state of New Hampshire, so those credentials stood on their own."

The bill that Daniels opposed was signed into law by Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. Benson emphasized that he is committed to upholding all state laws but declined to say whether he agrees with the gay rights legislation, noting that he commented on it during his campaign for governor: At a GOP candidates' forum in August, Benson was asked if he would try to repeal New Hampshire's ban on antigay discrimination. "I don't think we need to have laws that specify one person's preferences over somebody else's and treat them differently or treat them better," Benson said at the forum. "So no, I don't think we need any laws like that at all."

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