Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House have defeated a measure that would have repealed the state’s 2009 same-sex marriage law.
Legislators voted down the bill 211-116 on Wednesday with a bipartisan majority.
“Today is a banner day for the freedom to marry. Our opponents have been crowing about getting their two-thirds, but in the end, it’s clear they couldn’t muster the votes. This is a victory for our supporters — the majority of Granite Staters who oppose any roll back of marriage equality — because they reached out time and again and told lawmakers to leave this law alone.
This was our opponents’ best shot and they blew it. This was supposed to be the most favorable legislative climate for repeal and they couldn’t even get a majority.
Still, we cannot simply pack our bags and go home. Our opponents still want to end marriage equality in New Hampshire and we must keep a watchful eye on the Legislature, and make sure voices of equality are heard in November.
But this is a good day for all New Hampshire families who can celebrate tonight and know their marriages are no longer under attack in Concord.”
State representative David Bates (R) wanted to repeal the 2009 marriage law and replace it with a watered down version of civil unions that would have also allowed any two unmarried adults to form a partnership.
Bates argued that gay marriage undermined marriage in the state and some lawmakers during the debate likened same-sex marriage to polygamy and bestiality.
Bates also sought a non-binding referendum, saying that the people of New Hampshire should get a chance to vote on marriage equality. That proposal was defeated 188-162.
Same-sex marriage advocates pointed out that marriage equality opponents, including Bates, abandoned a 2010 push to put marriage equality on the ballot because there wasn’t enough support:
“Among eligible towns, 69% rejected the petition drive,” said an earlier release from Standing Up for New Hampshire Families. “Among all incorporated places, that figure is 71%. Even among all towns which actively considered the petition, where enough signatures were gathered to force a vote, the measure was defeated in 58% of those communities.”
As such, equality advocates say, the people have already decided this matter. You can look at a breakdown of those figures here.