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New Hampshire
panel calls for ban on same-sex marriage

New Hampshire
panel calls for ban on same-sex marriage

A New Hampshire commission on same-sex unions dealt a series of defeats Monday to proponents of same-sex marriage. The panel voted to urge state lawmakers not to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, not to recognize out-of-state same-sex unions, and not to set up a domestic-partner registry for couples who cannot legally marry.

"My hope is, before I die I will be able to approach a justice of the peace in the state of New Hampshire and be legally married," said Ed Butler, a gay commission member, who had submitted the recommendation for marriage. Soon afterward the panel defeated his recommendation on a 10-2 vote.

The commission has been meeting since April, gathering testimony from the public as well as doctors and other experts. It is expected to issue its report to the legislature on December 1. Earlier this month the panel voted to recommend a constitutional amendment stating that marriage is a union of only one woman and one man, though the measure seems unlikely to gain traction in the legislature.

Many of the New Hampshire panel's meetings have been marked by conflict, and Monday's was no different, with an argument between the chairman and another member escalating into a shouting match. The dispute was sparked when the member accused the chairman of using homophobic slurs against a gay panelist. (AP)

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