The New Hampshire Legislature will not vote this month on a Republican-led repeal of the state’s marriage equality law, with action being delayed until late February at its earliest.
The issue was not on the House calendar, but lawmakers expected to cast their votes, she said.
But Republican House leaders have delayed the vote on gay marriage, House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, said yesterday.
“The legislation will not be considered for a floor vote until February,” Bettencourt said in an email.
“We must deal with some critical financial and economic-related legislation first, as well as legislative redistricting, prior to any discussion of gay marriage,” he said. “It’s critical to keep legislative priorities in their proper order.”
A vote had been expected anytime between January 11 and January 18 but a formal vote on House Bill 437 was never actually scheduled.
Democratic legislators who were prepared to vote no on the bill have accused the Republicans of failing to get enough support for the legislation, or at least not enough to overcome Gov. Lynch’s veto, saying that they are using delay tactics in the hope of mustering the votes at a later date. As no formal tally of support exists this must remain speculation however.
The 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, denoting it as a designee status rather than one specifically designed to cater for romantic relationships. The law would, as such, be a massive step down from the former partnership rights and status conferred by the state’s existing same-sex marriage law.
It is thought that approximately 2,000 same-sex couples have married since the state legalized marriage equality just over two years ago.
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.