New Hampshire officials challenge antigay nominee

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 28 2003 12:00 AM ET

Two members of New Hampshire's executive council have sent a letter to Gov. Craig Benson asking that
he withdraw his nominee to the state's Human Rights Commission--a former legislator who made antigay comments regarding a civil rights bill six years ago. In their letter the councillors suggest that Benson find a more appropriate board or commission position for Gary Daniels. Benson nominated Daniels at last week's Executive Council meeting. The council votes next week on Daniels's nomination. The seven-member Human Rights Commission handles complaints filed under the state's civil rights law. "This kind of commission mandates that people who serve on the commission have a broad, open view about matters that come before it under New Hampshire law," said executive councilor Ray Burton, who sent the letter along with councilor Peter Spaulding. "It's not the appropriate slot for this individual."

Daniels sits on the Highway Layout Commission and tests software for the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation. On Monday he said his personal views would not color the decisions he would make as a member of the commission. While he was a state representative, Daniels, a Republican, opposed a 1997 bill that expanded the state's civil rights law to include gays and lesbians. The bill, which passed the legislature and was signed into law by Democratic governor Jeanne Shaheen, banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and such public accommodations as restaurants and hotels. During the debate Daniels said the state's definition of sexual orientation was inadequate and that homosexuality is unnatural, immoral, and unhealthy.