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N.H. Conservatives Energized by Maine


Conservatives who want to mount a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in New Hampshire feel energized by the success of Question 1 in Maine, but the likelihood of getting such an amendment on the ballot appears slim, at least for now.

The New Hampshire legislature passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage that Gov. John Lynch signed in June, about one month after Maine approved gay couples' right to marry. Now, conservatives in New Hampshire are looking to the approval of Question 1, which repealed the new law in Maine, as an example for their potential campaign.

"The conservative advocacy group Cornerstone Policy Research has taken notice of the successes traditional-marriage advocates have had across the country with ballot initiatives and is pushing for a constitutional amendment question," according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

However, significant differences in state political processes make any campaign to ban same-sex marriage in New Hampshire much less likely.

"Unlike Maine, where citizens can petition the state to put a question on the ballot, New Hampshire does not have a referendum vote," reported the Union Leader. "The only way the gay-marriage issue could go before voters is if it were placed on the ballot as a constitutional amendment."

Such a constitutional amendment would need to pass both houses of the legislature with a three-fifths majority before heading to voters for consideration. Democrats, who control both houses of the legislature, said any attempt to push a constitutional amendment would fail.

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Julie Bolcer