By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com March 21 2012 5:12 PM ET
A Republican-led effort to repeal marriage equality in New Hampshire
decisively failed today. Lawmakers voted against the repeal, against
replacing marriage with civil unions, and against putting marriage
rights up to a voter referendum.
Just to ensure the message
was clear, Republican representative Seth Cohn, who supports marriage
equality, proposed banning marriage between left-handed people. That
didn't pass either.
The final vote was 211-116 to kill a bill
that would have rescinded marriage equality in the state, and the votes
against the repeal included several Republicans, such as Cohn, who
broke with their party.
Gov. John Lynch signed marriage equality
legislation in 2009 after it narrowly passed through the legislature,
and he has promised to veto any effort to repeal the law. It would have
needed to pass through both Republican-led chambers before reaching his
But the bill, introduced by state representative David
Bates, couldn't muster the votes to pass the House, let alone come
anywhere near the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.
Bates had also sought a referendum but lost that vote 162-188. Polling on the issue showed that a solid majority of New Hampshire residents opposed rolling back marriage rights for gay residents. And marriage supporters argued that it was their role, not voters', to make a decision on repeal.
It wasn't the first time marriage opponents had tried to put the question on a ballot. House members voted against a similar initiative in 2010, failing to reach the 60% of members' votes to add the initiative to the ballot.
"Our opponents tried to abuse the 2010 Republican legislative sweep in New Hampshire to repeal the popular law," said Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director. "What they didn’t count on was the fact that the freedom to marry is becoming a bipartisan value, as resoundingly reflected in today’s vote."