NH Lawmaker Wants Non-Binding Gay Marriage Repeal Ballot


A New Hampshire lawmaker who has bankrolled a campaign against the state’s gay marriage law announced at a press conference Tuesday that he now wants a non-binding referendum on overturning marriage equality.

New Hampshire State Rep. David Bates says he wants voters to decide whether to keep New Hampshire’s marriage equality law or to replace it with a watered down form of civil unions that would allow any two non-married people to form a contract. The referendum wouldn’t be binding for the Legislature but, Bates claims, would settle the issue on what New Hampshire residents really think about marriage equality.

Reports On Top Magazine:

“There will be no more guessing, no more arguing or debating over dueling polls, just the actual voice of the people telling us what their will is on this issue,” Bates told reporters.

“I am ready to accept the will of the people. Now let’s see if those on the other side of this debate will do the same. Or are the homosexual activists only interested in pushing through their own agenda without regard for the will of the people of this state?”

Last year †Bates introduced a measure to repeal gay marriage in the state. However, with Democratic Gov. Lynch promising a veto, Bates needed a way to win enough support from fellow lawmakers to override any such threat.

Now he wants voters to decide whether the state should do away with gay marriage, which was legalized in 2009, and instead relegate same-sex marriages to a heavily diluted civil union contract that, as mentioned above, would be open to all non-married adults. Bates has made this concession because opponents, citing California’s Proposition 8 battle, said that simply trying to retroactively delete the estimated 2,000 same-sex marriages in the state would be unconstitutional.

Bates’ previous efforts to muster enough support for his repeal measure have consistently floundered. This change of tactic, probably hoping to capitalize on a strong turnout for the presidential election, has been labelled “desperate” by marriage equality groups.

Craig Stowell, Republican co-chairman of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, is quoted as saying about Rep. Bates’ new proposal:

“Representative Bates is now trying an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach in his sputtering effort to repeal this popular law. †Changing the definition and throwing in another non-binding referendum doesnít change the facts. †Bates had his referendum in 2010 and cities and towns overwhelmingly rejected it.’

“This is nothing more than a desperate, last minute Hail Mary pass. †The truth is voters like this law, more than 2000 couples have already married and in New Hampshire, we donít take rights away. †This is nothing more than window dressing and the legislature should reject this out of hand.”

The group highlights 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.† 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, they say, the people have already decided this matter. You can look at a breakdown of those figures here.

Bates has said that if voters were to reject his proposal at the ballot box he would drop the issue.

Related Reading:
NH Lawmaker Casts Doubt on Gay Marriage Repeal
NH Marriage Equality Repeal Vote Delayed
Republicans Stand Up for N.H. Marriage Equality


Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to James Cridland.


Mary L.
Mary L5 years ago

Why not go door to door and ask? Cost about the same and then you really could say you reflected _every_ Mainer's choices. Just watch how you write that poll.

Gary Stewart
Gary Stewart5 years ago

Why don't we just put slavery on the ballot too? I'm sure lots of corporations would love to own their work force and not have to worry about labor unions or fair wages any more. It might stop all the companies from relocating to foreign countries where they don't have to pay such high wages, after all slaves are cheaper than low wages and they can't quit their jobs for a better offer. Let's vote on religion too, after all everybody should have to follow the religion of the majority right? None of this modern freedom to be whatever type of Christian you want, if the majority say we should be Catholic, Baptist, or whatever then everyone else should have to convert right? NO! We live in a nation that was founded on equal rights for all even though we've been slow at implementing it. Took us awhile to get rid of slavery and give women the right to vote.

Ruth P.
Ruth P5 years ago

The will of the people probably entails keeping slaves - as long as the majority aren't the proposed slave group, of course. Democracy isn't fair. It's either a watered-down dictatorship - where you elect your dictators for short terms - or it's the rule of the mob. Gay marriage doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights, but no gay marriage does. That's what it comes down to.

Terry T.
Terry T5 years ago

No voting on others rights. If you aren't the one getting married, your opinion is neither asked nor helpful.

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

i as a lesbian, do not want people who think 10% of the population (and that's just the people who are out) made a choice on who we're attracted to, voting on my rights!

pam w.
pam w5 years ago

Majorities do NOT get to vote on civil rights for minorities.....IS THAT NOT CLEAR?'

Joe M.
Joe M.5 years ago

It's time for civil and marriage equality America now. Period. Case closed.
Cheers, Joe Mustich, CT USA
CT Justice of the Peace, & Marriage Officiator nationally.....