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Trouble in New Hampshire – Amendments Voted Down

Timothy Kincaid

May 20th, 2009

Governor John Lynch stated that he would sign the marriage bill if it were revised to include specific protections for churches and religious groups. The New Hampshire Senate voted today 14-10 to accept the Governor’s changes. However, Reuters is reporting that the House rejected the changes.

The state’s Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted down the bill in a 188-186 vote, hours after its Senate approved the legislation 14-10 along party lines.

State Representative Steve Vaillancourt, a gay Republican from Manchester, was a leading voice against the amendment securing religious liberties, saying that the House should not be “bullied” by the governor.

Vaillancourt said an earlier bill that did not provide protections to clerics or religious groups was the one that should have been passed, adding that the amended bill would allow discrimination to be written into state law.

The earlier bill passed both chambers.

Other House Republicans said they voted against the current bill because the process did not fairly give a voice to every citizen who wanted to speak on the issue.

This is an entirely unexpected turn of events. The fate of marriage equality in New Hampshire is uncertain.

The House vote against the governor’s amendment means the bill will be sent to a committee that will try to resolve the differences between the two chambers. It remains unclear how the governor would respond to any changes to his wording.

UPDATE:

The Wall Street Journal clarifies:

Opponents tried to kill the bill, but failed. The House then voted 207-168 to ask the Senate to negotiate a compromise.

Comments

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Trevor
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

In otherwords this gay Republican twit sabotaged marriage equality over some bogus separation of powers minutiae. If this were over some unimportant issue like the budget I’d say rake the Governor over the coals. But our rights are more important than your little political whizzing contest.

Tomorrow the hysterical Right will just be screeching “SEE!? They really do want to FORCE religious institutions to perform homosexual ‘marriages'”. So good job there Log Cabin traitor, you just made a non-issue the deal breaker.

Bruno
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

Lynch 1, Vaillancourt 1, NH LGBT folk 0

Both say they want the marriage equality bill to go through, but now both are bandying the language of it between each other.

Matt
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

So… now what happens?

AJD
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

Leave it to the Log Cabin types to screw everything up for the community. Between Andrew Sullivan constantly attacking hate crime legislation and this, who needs homophobes with homosexuals like this?

Houndentenor
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

Oy vey. Let them have language protecting religion. It’s not necessary. Churches (and other religious organizations) can already refuse to marry people (for example, those of different faiths), but if this placates someone, what do we care?

Burr
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

This is so shortsighted. I can sort of understand the principle this vote stands for, but it serves the purposes of the bigots to make us look unreasonable.

If this expanded language to “protect discrimination” so to speak causes problems later on, we can tackle it then. Much like the continued inequity of civil unions only served to strengthen the case for marriage.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of great.

AJD
May 21st, 2009 | LINK

I just read that the NOM is trying to capitalize on Steve Vaillancourt’s vote against the bill. Thanks for empowering our enemies, Steve!

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