Yesterday, New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted against proposed legislation intended to repeal marriage equality by a margin of 211 to 116. New Hampshire’s state legislature had voted for marriage equality in 2009 when the legislature had a democratic majority, but the law has come under attack since Republicans gained control of the house in 2010. However, with strong bipartisan support, the house renewed its commitment to ensuring marriage rights to same-sex couples in New Hampshire, with both this vote and the rejection of the Bates Amendment, which would have led to a ballot measure in November proposing a return to civil unions for gay and lesbian couples instead of the current freedom of marriage.
As Overbrook grantee Freedom to Marry has reported, repealing marriage equality in New Hampshire was a top priority for anti-gay organizations this year. The excellent organizing and advocacy work by the bipartisan coalition of civic, religious and political leaders making up Standing Up For New Hampshire Families, in which Freedom to Marry participated, helped to thwart these efforts. Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry, released the following statement: “Our opponents tried to abuse the 2010 Republican legislative sweep in New Hampshire to repeal the popular law. What they didn’t count on was the fact that the freedom to marry is becoming a bipartisan value, as resoundingly reflected in today’s vote.” He continued, “We are grateful to Governor John Lynch for his principled defense of the freedom to marry law, and to the many lawmakers—both Republican and Democrat—who listened carefully to their constituents and recognized that New Hampshire is stronger when all committed couples can share in the freedom to marry.”
Here at Overbrook, we are pleased to see a recognition of the human and civil rights of all families and couples in New Hampshire through this broad bipartisan support for marriage equality. While there will be many more battles on this issue around the United States, this vote represents the ever increasing support of Americans for marriage equality. The Overbrook Foundation congratulates to Freedom to Marry and the other members of the coalition on their hard work to ensure the decisive margin of victory in this vote and to open the hearts and minds of both politicians and constituents to the critical importance of preserving marriage equality for all.
For more information, please see the blog from Freedom to Marry and a blog post from Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), another Overbrook grantee involved with the coalition of advocates working to preserve civil marriage for same-sex couples in New Hampshire.