Conservative-gay bedfellows derail NH marriage bill

by on May 20, 2009  •  In Marriage, Religion

The Boston Globe reports that anti-gay marriage Republicans in the New Hampshire House, joined by a small number of marriage equality proponents, have halted the revised marriage bill containing the expanded religious exemption requested by the governor.  Now the two chambers, presumably with the governor's office, will attempt to negotiate a compromise.

…A handful of gay-rights proponents sided with Republicans in the Democratic-controlled House to vote down the bill 188-186 Wednesday, hours after the Senate approved the gay-marriage legislation by 14-10 along party lines. …

The vote against the governor's amendment sends the bill to a committee where lawmakers from both chambers will try to resolve their differences. "We recognize this is part of the normal process of passing significant legislation and I look forward to working with my House colleagues on this bill," said Senate President Sylvia Larsen, a Democrat.

The governor has said he would veto gay marriage if his wording was not adopted. "The governor articulated strong principles that needed to be included in order for him to sign the bill," said the governor's spokesman, Colin Manning. "While he will continue to talk with lawmakers, those principles must be maintained in any final version of the bill."

State Representative Steve Vaillancourt, an openly gay Republican, was a leading voice against the amendment securing religious liberties, saying the House should not be "bullied" by the governor….

"We are pleased that common sense prevailed," said Kevin Smith, executive director of Cornerstone Policy Research, which has campaigned against same-sex marriage in New Hampshire. …


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