Vote on N.H. Marriage Equality Repeal Bill Expected Next Week

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Thursday January 12, 2012

New Hampshire lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill next week that would repeal the state's marriage equality law.

Sources familiar with the legislative calendar indicate that the vote will likely take place on Jan. 18. The measure is expected to pass in the Republican-controlled Legislature, but Gov. John Lynch has said he would veto the measure. It remains unclear whether there are enough votes to override the governor's veto.

The expected vote would take place slightly more than a week after the New Hampshire primary.

Republican presidential candidates-most notably former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum-faced increased scrutiny over their opposition to marriage for same-sex couples in the days leading up to the Jan. 10 vote. Gay voters with whom EDGE spoke at the Breezeway, a gay bar in downtown Manchester, on the eve of the primary listed nuptials for gays and lesbians along with jobs and the economy as their top issues.

"Marriage is important to me because I am a gay male and I believe that marriage should be open to more than just a male and a female," said Manchester resident Josh, who declined to give his last name.

A University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll in October found that 62 percent of the state's residents support the marriage equality law, and 44 percent of them said they would consider voting against any candidate who supports the bill. Both Fox News and CNN exit polls indicated 62 percent of Republican primary voters identified themselves as either moderate or liberal on marriage equality and other social issues.

Standing Up for New Hampshire Families earlier on Thursday unveiled a second ad that features Claremont resident Craig Stowell and his gay brother Calvin. The group's first ad, which also features Stowell and his wife Berta, began airing on WMUR late last month.

"I find it very offensive when I hear people talking about protecting certain types of families and not all families," Craig Stowell, a Republican, told EDGE earlier this month. "To me, being a Republican means you're going to protect the freedom of every family, not just the family that you think fits your mold."

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.