NH Lawmaker Casts Doubt on Gay Marriage Repeal
New Hampshire State Rep. Seth Cohn has suggested that even though Republicans control the New Hampshire Legislature with veto-proof majorities, there is not enough of a consensus among Republicans to override a veto on a bill to repeal same-sex marriage that is currently stalled in the House.
“I know for a fact, based on people I’ve talked to, that if Gov. Lynch vetoes it, that veto is not override-able,” Cohn said.
Cohn said he plans to introduce an amendment on the House floor that would take government entirely out of marriage, instead giving all couples a civil union and leaving marriage up to churches and other religious institutions. That same approach is supported by the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, a libertarian-leaning group that endorsed 107 House members elected in 2010.
New Hampshire’s GOP recently put back a vote on a bill that would repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law, citing that they wanted instead to concentrate on economic issues before social questions — however, some commentators at the time wondered if this was because the GOP did not have consensus enough to override a veto from the Democratic Gov. Lynch.
The article quoted above goes on to quote Carolyn McKinney, chairwoman of the state’s Republican Liberty Caucus, as saying that the group is split on the bill, recognizing a conflict between individual autonomy and a perceived threat to religious liberty.
A vote had been expected anytime between January 11 and January 18 but a formal vote on House Bill 437 was never actually scheduled.
The repeal legislation would overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law, making it the first state to do so through the legislative process. Specifically, the bill seeks to replace marriage equality with civil unions for unmarried adults, including relatives. This demonstrates the weakening of the usual civil unions status to one more akin to a legal designee.
A statewide poll conducted in February of last year found that 63 percent of voters oppose attempts to overturn the same-sex marriage law, while 92 percent of all voters agree that the state’s political leadership should focus on economic issues over social issues.
Entrepreneur Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, recently joined Standing Up for New Hampshire Families to fight against the repeal.