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New Hampshire House Panel to Vote on Gay Marriage Repeal

New Hampshire House Panel to Vote on Gay Marriage Repeal

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The New Hampshire House judiciary committee is expected to approve a bill Tuesday that would replace all future same-sex marriages with a type of civil union while giving institutions wide latitude not to recognize the unions.

The Portsmouth Herald reports on the vote on House Bill 437, which would repeal marriage equality in the state by reserving marriage for opposite-sex couples. While more than 1,5000 valid same-sex marriages would be left in place, the bill would eliminate the option in the future and instead allow civil unions for any "unmarried adults competent to enter into a contract - including relatives."

Jim Splaine, a Democratic former representative who sponsored marriage equality legislation, told the Herald he worried that the proposed repeal would "create a 'weird' third class of relationship that mimics a civil union arrangement."

According to the Union Leader, the current version of the bill provides wide protections for individuals, corporations and organizations not to recognize civil unions based on religious belief.

"The bill does not require any corporation, employer, individual, society or school to recognize civil unions, if it is against their moral or religious beliefs," reported the Union Leader. "It exempts organizations and individuals from laws against discrimination in employment, housing, licensing and government grants."

If the committee approves the bill as expected, the house will vote on the measure in January before sending it to the senate. Republicans control both houses of the legislature in New Hampshire.

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