NH House to Vote on Gay Marriage Repeal Bids, Rep. Elliot Apologizes for False Gay Sex Ed. Claims
On Wednesday, legislators will vote on two separate bills that aim to repeal New Hampshire’s gay marriage law which took effect on January 1. The first is House Bill 1590 which is an act to repeal same-sex marriage, and the second is a constitutional amendment, CACR 28, that would once again define marriage as being between one man and one woman in the state.
Last week the House Judiciary Committee recommended that both bills be killed, however the final vote could still be close. Opponents of marriage equality (mainly from Republican quarters) are aware that their repeal efforts are unlikely to pass with a Democratic majority in control, but they will use this issue as a banner for the congressional elections in November when Republican lawmakers hope to gain control of the Statehouse. If that should happen, expect a repeal effort to begin in earnest then, and in the meantime, gay marriage to be used as one of the chief reasons to vote against Democratic legislators.
I’ll update you on the results of Wednesday’s votes as they become available, so please check back for updates at the bottom of this post.
A bit of related news now. As is often the case, the debate over marriage equality was the center of controversy last week when Rep. Nancy Elliott (R-Merrimack) made claims in her testimony to the Judiciary Committee that marriage equality in New Hampshire has led to school children being taught, in graphic terms, about anal sex and sex between same-sex partners. Here’s a video of the hearing, and the first two minutes or so are Rep Elliot’s testimony:
Just to repeat a few choice segments of that (hat tip to Pam’s House Blend for the transcript):
On anal sex:
And so, you know I started thinking, and we’re talking about taking the penis of one man and putting into the rectum of another man, and wiggling it around in excrement. And I have to think, I’m not sure, would I allow that to be done to me? All of us, that could happen to you. Would you let the happen to you?
Is that normal? Is that something that we want to portray as the same as the one-flesh union between a man and a woman?
On anal sex between men being taught in schools:
Well I heard yesterday from a mother that in the 5th grade in Nashua they were given as part of their classroom instruction naked pictures of two men showing presentation[s] of anal sex.
Off-screen voice: Representative Elliott, let’s keep our discussion directly to the bill and not…
Elliott: This is directly to the bill because we have marriage of same-sex, they are now teaching it in the public school. They are showing [our] 5th graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex. And they are condoning, they’re saying this is normal. And this is something that you might want to try. That is the context of the lesson, that this is something that you as a 5th grader might want to try.
Rep. Elliott holds this up as a reason to repeal gay marriage in New Hampshire.
Shortly after, Nashua authorities refuted this claim, saying that they were at a loss to comprehend where Elliott had got this story from, as nothing resembling her accusations can be found on the curriculum. Calls for Rep. Elliott to be sanctioned then started. Others called for her to be removed from office unless she could substantiate her claims. Unsurprisingly, her apology and retraction followed not long after, a part of which reads:
I was told shortly before the hearing on HB 1590 that what I later said had happened and I firmly believed it to be so.
It is for that reason and because of its relevance that I brought it up to the committee.
I would have never said anything in the performance of my duties as a state representative that I did not believe was true or relevant.
I am presenting this letter at the first committee meeting of Judiciary since last Tuesday. I do so at the earliest opportunity in order to make clear I am withdrawing what I said regarding the Nashua schools.
I would like to apologize to Judiciary Committee, the Nashua public schools and its employees and the speaker as well as anyone else affected by what I said.
I will try much harder in the future to verify fully my statement.
Mr. Chairman I would appreciate your putting this statement into the file on HB 1590 so that someone looking at the file would understand my statement was inaccurate.’’
You can view the full statement here.
Meanwhile a grassroots effort to repeal New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law rumbles on with a campaign encouraging a non-binding resolution against equal marriage rights to be put before the public at various town-hall meetings. Can we expect more “Won’t someone think of the children?” arguments in the near future, then? Based on this, I think it’s likely.
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UPDATE: Members of the New Hampshire House have voted to reject both attempts at repealing the state’s gay marriage law. The constitutional amendment was defeated by a vote of 201-135 (and so can not advance to the Senate), while HB 1590 was defeated by a vote of 210-109. For more information, please click here.