Posts Tagged As: New Hampshire

What New Hampshire Means

Jim Burroway

January 11th, 2012

As with Iowa, not much in national terms, but for different reasons. It remains to be seen whether New Hampshire or Iowa will stand out as an anomaly. But it may mean something in state politics where there are murmurings that the state legislature may take up a bill repealing that state’s marriage equality law. If state lawmakers looked to these results as an indication of their own electoral futures, they may notice that two of the three top finishers have kept the National Organization for Marriage at arm’s length. Yes, Romney signed and won the primary, but 40% of the the GOP’s own voters backed candidates who didn’t. What’s more, audiences openly booed Santorum’s making Teh Gays a central talking point of his campaign, making that the most visible indication of how Granite Staters feel about anti-gay politics.

Whether that matters in the state legislature or not however isn’t a given. State Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) seems to understand the temperature of the state electorate, and warned the GOP candidates to avoid discussing the state’s effort to repeal its 2009 marriage equality law, declaring such talk “off message” even though she herself is a staunch opponent of marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples, having resigned as Attorney General in protest after Governor John Lynch signed the marriage equality bill into law. But social conservatives have an amazing capacity for self-delusions of power and grandeur. Gingrich’s victory speech last night, which didn’t mention Romney’s inconvenient existence, had Gingrich crowning himself the winner of “the conservative primary” as he all but measured the White House’s drapes. And in a related late-breaking development, a box of rocks moved ahead to edge him out of his third place finish. Meanwhile Perry has already saddled up for South Carolina after pulling out an upset victory over the write-in candidates. Santorum is already there as well, where he hopes his Iowa streak will leave a mark.

Romney Again

Jim Burroway

January 10th, 2012

The results are in for last night’s New Hampshire GOP Primary. There weren’t too many surprises with the final results: Romney, as expected, came in with a strong first place showing. Given that he was governor of neighboring Massachusetts, he was practically a native son in political terms, making his strong showing unsurprising. Also, as expected, Ron Paul came in second. Huntsman was expected to do well in the state, having put all of his eggs in the Granite State basket. He came in third, and it’s not clear where his campaign goes from here.

Gingrich came up short, pulling on only 10% of the vote, as further evidence of his rapidly dropping popularity. A Box of Rocks came on surprisingly strong, ahead of Santorum and Perry. Cowboy Perry barely outpaced the write-ins to finish at the rear, with Santorum settling in just a short distance up it.

And that’s a wrap at BTB Elections Central for New Hampshire. Now it’s on to South Carolina where the fun really begins.

Huntsman surges in New Hampshire

Timothy Kincaid

January 10th, 2012

Maybe it was just his time. Maybe it was the fact that in the debates he actually answered questions that reveals an understanding of the issues rather than a memorization of cue cards. And just maybe New Hampshire primary voters wanted someone who wasn’t committed to coming in and overturning their laws.

But over the past few days, Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah (where he has received credit for working with the gay community) and ambassador to China, has had a surge in the polls. And with early poll results coming in, it looks as though Huntsman has performed well above expectation. A strong third place tonight would strengthen Huntsman’s campaign.

At (admittedly small) 14% of precincts reporting, the numbers are:

35.6% Mitt Romney 10,393
24.1% Ron Paul 7,029
18.0% Jon Huntsman 5,243


With 19% of precincts (still small), Huntsman is holding well

35.5% Mitt Romney
24.7% Ron Paul
17.0% Jon Huntsman


24% are in. Huntsman’s initial number is proving a bit weak, but I think he can leave tonight with his head held high. Incidentally, Huntsman is the only remaining Republican nominee to support civil unions because he thinks “this nation can do a better job when it comes to equality.”

35.4% Mitt Romney
24.9% Ron Paul
16.9% Jon Huntsman


With 26% in, I have to leave you for a bit.

35.1% Mitt Romney
25.1% Ron Paul
16.8% Jon Huntsman


With 96% reporting

39.3% Mitt Romney
22.8% Ron Paul
16.8% Jon Huntsman

In all, not a great night for the extreme wing. And perhaps the results will give Huntsman greater credibility for his more moderate message.

Santorum’s New Hampshire Catholic problem

Timothy Kincaid

January 6th, 2012

New Hampshire is about 35% Catholic and when you consider those who vote in the Republican primary, I suspect the percentage is higher. Which is really bad news for Rick Santorum, the candidate running to bring US law into conformity with Vatican dictates.

Because “Catholic” in New Hampshire isn’t the same thing as Catholic in the Santorum household (Wall Street Journal)

An October poll by the University of New Hampshire found that state voters overall opposed the repeal bill two-to-one. Among likely GOP primary voters, 47% opposed repeal versus 39% in favor, the poll found.

Pirozzi Monier, a Goffstown, N.H., retiree who was at a town hall held by candidate Rick Santorum Thursday night, says she has “deeply rooted Roman Catholic” beliefs, but said, “Would I be opposed to friends getting married who are gay? No.”

In what she described as a typical New Hampshire attitude, she said she believes in staying out of her friends and neighbors’ business. “I’m old Yankee stock,” she said. ‘Good fences make good neighbors.”

NOM’s Christmas Gift: Deepening Desperation

Rob Tisinai

December 26th, 2011

NOM reports that 61% of New Hampshire voters want to repeal the state’s recognition of same-sex marriage. Disappointing, but we have to remember that even this represents progress when compared to public sentiment a decade ago, so —

Wait, hold on, let me check…

So sorry. My mistake. NOM is reporting that 60% of New Hampshire Republicans want to repeal same-sex marriage.

Only 60%.

Of Republicans.

I’m thrilled with that number. And NOM’s happy about it, too?  That’s quite revealing. Apparently they’ve set themselves a new, lower threshold for what constitutes good news. Perhaps something like:

Yay! Our base is merely eroding quickly rather than extremely quickly.


Hoorah! 61% of the most conservative 28% of New Hampshire voters haven’t abandoned us yet!


Yippee! Because, well…yippee!

Actually, they think of it like this, spinning the result in a fashion that blows away any attempt to parody it.

“With more than 3 out of 5 New Hampshire Primary voters favoring the restoration of marriage, the verdict is in: Republicans are united in the fight against the national agenda of wealthy, gay marriage lobbyists,” said Jason Rose of the July Fourth Forum PAC.

Emphasis added.  Anyway, Merry Christmas.  From NOM.

How Same Sex Marriage Leads To Incest

Jim Burroway

November 3rd, 2011

Step 1: Pass a law allowing gays to marry.

Step 2: Hold new elections, changing the composition of the state legislature.

Step 3: Propose a ban on same-sex marriages.

Step 4: Drop the proposed ban and go instead for a repeal of same-sex marriage, replacing it with a proposal to institute civil unions for everyone regardless of gender — and regardless of whether they are already related to each other.

So you see? NOM was right. Same-sex marriage does lead to state recognition of incest.

NH anti-marriage amendment dropped

Timothy Kincaid

November 2nd, 2011

In New Hampshire, there has been a two-tiered approach to reversing marriage equality. Anti-gay activists sought to have the legislature repeal its decision and also started a process within the legislature to present the voters with an amendment to the state constitution limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

The second endeavor has been dropped: (Globe)

The sponsor of a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage has decided not to pursue the measure next year to clear the way for a debate over repealing New Hampshire’s law legalizing the unions.

State Rep. David Bates, the Windham Republican who also is sponsor of the repeal bill, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he wants to let the Legislature consider repealing the law enacted under Democrats two years ago before debating a constitutional change — a process that would take longer to implement.

That, and the fact that polls show that New Hampshire residents don’t want to repeal the marriage law.

And as for that bill winding its way through the legislature, it appears to me to have been crafted with pleasing special interest groups in mind, not for actually becoming law. It claims to replace marriage with civil unions … kinda.

The House Judiciary Committee voted last week to recommend replacing the law legalizing same-sex marriage with civil unions for any unmarried adults, including relatives. The committee recommended killing a bill that simply repealed the law.

The bill would not enact the same civil unions law that was in effect before gays were allowed to marry. That law granted gays all the rights and responsibilities of marriage except in name. The proposed civil unions law would be open to any two adults and would let anyone refuse to recognize the unions. It also would allow anyone to discriminate against such couples in employment, housing and public accommodations based on religious or moral beliefs.

My cynical side wonders if maybe the Republican leadership – which has shown reluctance to reverse the marriage law – didn’t deliberately draft this poison pill bill. It’s practically an invitation to vote no.

“Fellow legislators, while I support the age-old institution of marriage as defined by God, I simply cannot vote in favor of legalized incest”


“While I believe that civil unions are a better option for New Hampshire, I can’t vote for a bill that introduces a special right to discriminate.”

And should the bill pass the legislature, to override Gov. Lynch’s veto would require two-thirds of those present and voting. I’m fairly sure that a number of legislators, having voted to “protect marriage” once, will be ‘sadly unavailable due to an unexpected family emergency’ when it comes time for a veto override vote. They too have seen the polls.

NOM wages war on New Hampshire Republican leadership

Timothy Kincaid

January 22nd, 2011

The newly elected Republican supermajority in New Hampshire is interested in the economy and jobs and taxes. And House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt has stated that warring over marriage is not one of the party’s immediate priorities.

Well, to National Organization for Marriage, this makes Bettencourt an enemy to be destroyed. So they fired up their attack machine. (

Bettencourt said the National Organization for Marriage sent a direct mailer to his district in Salem saying he doesn’t support traditional family values. He said the mailer was the result of his announcement last week that the House Republican agenda did not include repealing gay marriage.

But it may have backfired. Rather than resulting in marches on his office by outraged citizens waving pitchforks and demanding a witch trial over Teh Gheys getting married, this act or aggression simply pissed off Bettencourt (and probably quite a few other Republicans, as well). So he used it against them.

In a letter to his fellow legislators, he said that NOM’s move proves that marriage is “controversial” and would be a distraction, so it should be put off for another year.

“This assault on our agenda has the potential to take important focus and energy away from our focus on the budget,” Bettencourt wrote O’Brien. “Therefore, it is my belief that the same sex marriage repeal must be retained in the Judiciary Committee this year so that our full and undivided attention is focused on New Hampshire’s outstanding financial issues.”

Some newly elected NH Republicans may vote against marriage repeal

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2011

When November’s election revealed that Republicans had achieved a super-majority (enough to overturn a veto) in New Hampshire, the National Organization for Marriage and other anti-gay activist groups gloated. Assuming that Republican registration equals anti-gay, they announced that they would immediately reverse New Hampshire’s marriage equality laws and override Governor Lynch’s veto to do so.

But the incoming Republican leadership isn’t interested in battling over marriage rights. It wants, instead, to deal with budget, taxes, regulation, business environment, and other fiscal matters. Anti-gay marriage is not on the leadership’s agenda.

Individual Republicans, however, have introduced language to reverse last year’s law. And social conservatives are assuming that when it comes time to vote they will have adequate power to overturn Lynch’s veto.

I’m not so sure. And neither are some in the Republican Caucus (The Dartmouth)

State Rep. Steven Cunningham, R-Sullivan, said that the newly elected Republicans may vote against a repeal of the same-sex marriage law due to their different ideologies regarding civil liberties and constitutional issues.

“It is a possibility it will pass, but I’m not convinced that such an effort will be as popular amongst Republicans as some of the other conservative issues facing the Republican Party,” Cunningham said. “I believe this year included a very large number of constitutional-oriented and libertarian individuals who chose to run under the Republican banner, embracing 80 percent of the Republican platform, but differ in areas of individual rights and issues enumerated in the constitution.”

Some Republicans told their peers in the state House that they would not be comfortable voting for a repeal after they had already granted same-sex couples marriage equality, according to Nordgren.

State Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, who originally voted against the legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New Hampshire, said she has since seen no problem with the legislation and plans to vote against the repeal if it reaches the Senate.

All in all, I think that it is unlikely that marriage equality will be reversed in New Hampshire. But it is too soon to be certain.

Marriage repeal not on New Hampshire GOP agenda

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2011

The AP is reporting

The House Republican’s legislative agenda will not include repealing gay marriage.

House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that jobs and the economy will be the top priorities that Republicans will use as their scorecard to measure themselves by for the next two years.

Bettencourt said social issues will take a back seat. He said one abortion initiative will be on the agenda but he declined to say what it is.

Perhaps at 27, Bettencourt represents a younger generation Republican Party.

Couple recognition, state by state

Timothy Kincaid

December 1st, 2010

Upon the governor’s signature, Illinois will become the second state that is currently offering civil unions to same-sex couples. The status of the various recognition mechanisms is as follows:

on the same terms as heterosexual marriage – 5.1% of US Population:

New Hampshire
District of Columbia

Civil Unions
– a rights except the name – 7.1% of US Population:

New Jersey

Domestic Partnerships will all the rights except the name – 16.3% of US Population


Limited recognition of same-sex couples – 6.2% of US Population

Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits
Colorado – Reciprocal Benefits
Wisconsin – Domestic Partnerships
Maine – Domestic Partnerships
Maryland – Domestic Partnerships

In addition, the states of Maryland and New York (6.4% of US Population) will give full recognition to same-sex marriages conducted where legal. Rhode Island may possibly do so also (it’s a bit uncertain) and offers unregistered Domestic Partnerships with a scant handful of rights.

Also, there are dozens of cities offer some form of recognition and protection for same-sex couples.

Marriage update – around the states

Timothy Kincaid

November 29th, 2010

The 2010 election has changed the dynamic in a few states and presents both opportunities and challenges for supporters of marriage equality. Here are how I see the current landscape:

Hawaii – Neil Abercrombie, the newly elected governor of Hawaii, is a strong advocate for civil unions. Earlier this year the legislature overwhelmingly approved a civil unions bill and such a bill is likely to be presented again.

Illinois – it is expected that the state legislature will vote this week on a civil unions bill during a lame-duck session. There is adequate support in the Senate, but the House vote is uncertain. Should it pass, Governor Pat Quinn, a strong supporter who was just reelected, will sign the bill. This bill seems to be taking on the impression of a Catholic v. Protestant fight, with NOM and the Catholic Bishop serving as the public face in opposition to civil unions, while a great many Protestants ministers have endorsed the bill.

– Mark Dayton holds a lead in the governor’s election over anti-gay Tom Emmer, but the election will not be determined until a recount is completed. Republicans took control of both houses of legislature, so no pro-equality bills are expected; but if Dayton is confirmed there also will be no anti-equality bills either.

The one concern might be that Republicans could try and put a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot that bans both marriage and civil unions. While that may seem like a great idea to anti-gay activists, Emmer ran a homophobic campaign designed to appeal to those who oppose marriage equality and it does not appear to have been successful. I think it likely that an anti-marriage amendment would pass, but anti-civil unions may be too much, and it is becoming increasingly more risky for anti-gays to make such assumptions. Additionally, attitudes can change dramatically in the next two years.

Meanwhile, three couples are suing the state claiming that laws restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples violate the state constitution. Today, a judge rejected the request of the Minnesota Family Counsel to intervene:

“The Council’s alleged injuries would occur solely due to its sincerely-held belief that principles rooted in its interpretations of religious texts are best for the well-being of children and families, and that marriage only between one man and one woman accords with these principles,” wrote Minnesota Fourth District Court Judge Mary S. DuFrense (PDF). “The Court certainly understands that the Council feels strongly about the social issue of same-sex marriage. Strong feelings, however, do not establish a legal interest in a lawsuit.”

Iowa – after three Supreme Court Justices were denied confirmation, anti-gay activists were celebrating. But as the Senate majority leader has committed to blocking any changes to the Iowa constitution, it is unlikely that marriage will be reversed.

New Hampshire – NOM is crowing that anti-marriage activists have taken over both houses. However, my analysis suggests that any reversal of marriage equality is unlikely. While Republicans took a veto-proof majority, a significant number have already voted against any repeal of the law.

Maine – Republican Paul LePage was elected governor, effectively eliminating any forward movement on marriage equality. However LePage supports the current domestic partnership laws so things will remain status quo for a while.

New York – this one is a big question mark. Incoming Governor Cuomo has promised to get marriage legalized. And after the last vote, state legislators have discovered that “things as they are” may well be the most dangerous position to hold; gay activists refused to play the “any Democrat is better than a Republican” game and set their sites on defeating anti-marriage votes.

Going by last year’s vote count, the current best case scenario is that we are three votes shy of what we need (there are still some undecided elections). However, this time our side is taking to the airwaves to drum up public support, and polls show that New Yorkers support marriage equality. What was a party-line vote last year may well be viewed this year in terms of tolerance and New York values and there may be an entirely different dynamic.

Rhode Island – Former-Republican Lincoln Chafee, who ran as an Independent, beat both the Democrat and the Republican candidates to take governor of the tiny state. And one of his first actions was to inform NOM that their opinion on marriage was not of any value to him. Rhode Islanders support marriage equality, and with Chafee’s backing there is a good chance that RI will be the next marriage state.

Maryland – another contender for next marriage state, Maryland did not suffer party reversal. A plurality of voter support marriage equality, and gay State Sen. Richard Madaleno is guardedly optimistic that marriage will be voted in, perhaps as early as January.

His optimism stems from a number of developments on Election Day 2010, some of which ran absolutely counter to national trends. In the Maryland Senate, Democrats actually expanded their majority to a 35-12 advantage over Republicans. And some Democrats who lost their seats did so in primary fights with more progressive challengers, many of whom vowed to be even stronger champions for marriage equality.

And, of course, all of the above could be impacted by Perry v. Schwarzenegger should the courts find that marriage laws which restrict gay people from participation are contrary to the Due Process or Equal Protections clauses of the 14th Amendement.

Not a good night for NOM

Timothy Kincaid

November 2nd, 2010

The Republicans picked up significant gains in the midterm election, gaining control of the House of Representatives, and bringing the Senate to within a few votes. This is not good news for the prospect of having issues of inequality addressed in the next two years.

However, this change in the direction of power was not a mandate for social conservatives. Indeed, it was those Republicans who made the most of their socially conservative credentials who fared least well. Christine O’Donnell lost miserably, as did Tom Tancredo, while Tea Party and Republican candidates that minimized or refused to discuss their positions on social issues attracted support.

But no indicator seems to have been more consistent this election than the extent to which a candidate was supported by the National Organization for Marriage. If you were a Senatorial or Gubernatorial candidate whom NOM supported, it seemed to be the kiss of death.

In New Hampshire, NOM has ran an anti-Lynch campaign for two years, and has ratcheted up the anti-Lynch television ads going into the election. Lynch just won his fourth consecutive election, a feat not accomplished for the past 200 years.

In California, NOM sponsored a bus tour for senate candidate Carly Fiorina, encouraging Latino voters to “vota tus valores“. Not only have the networks called this election for Barbara Boxer, Latinos found Fiorina’s valores not to be their valores by two-thirds.

NOM sued the state of New York in hopes of running anonymous ads in favor of Carl Paladino. Paladino’s homophobia sunk his campaign and he ended up pulling but 35% of the vote leaving Cuomo – a marriage support – one of the strongest winners of the night.

In Minnesota, NOM ran radio ads for Tom Emmer claiming that “Mark Dayton and Tom Horner want to impose gay marriage with no vote of the people.” Although Minnesota has not been called, Dayton is 7% ahead of Emmer with 85% of the vote counted.

This kiss of death is consistent with results of NOM’s electioneering in the District of Columbia during their primary. It would seem that using gay couples as a fear tactic seems to have peaked and dissipated.

This is not to say that NOM will not have any causes for celebration. The efforts to reject three supreme court justices in Iowa who were part of the unanimous decision to recognize gay Iowans as protected by the state Constitution, appears to have succeeded. Each appears to have only 46-47% support. Expect NOM to claim this as a clear mandate that the “people of Iowa have spoken” and that they don’t like their gay neighbors so much. NOM was not, however, successful in their effort to oust the Polk County judge who first found for marriage equality.

And NOM’s very own Andy Pugno – the attorney for the Prop 8 campaign – is running for state assembly in California’s 5th Assembly district. At present the vote is too close to call.

All in all, while NOM’s vindictive smearing of the Iowa justices may have proven effective (and may well prove to bring a chilling effect to future legal battles), we can say that they were big losers tonight.

UPDATE: 10:28 pm PST. LA Times:

With more than half the votes counted, Democrat Richard Pan holds a 51% to 45% lead over Republican Andy Pugno in a seat currently held by Republicans.

Not only may Pugno’s repugnant attack on gay couples have cost him the 5th Assembly seat, it may actually move the Democrats in CA closer to a supermajority. NOM must feel so proud.

Heterosexual Menace: Church-Sanctioned Rape, Humiliation and Exile

Jim Burroway

June 1st, 2010

In 1997, a teenage girl was raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. When she complained to her pastor, Chuck Phelps, he reported the rape to state youth officials, but police were never able to find the victim. That’s because  was shipped of to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. And all the while, she was told it was her fault she was raped:

The victim said Phelps told her she would be put up for “church discipline,” where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins. She asked why. “Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation,” the victim told the police.

“He told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”

Fran Earle, the church’s former clerk, witnessed the punishment session. At a night meeting of the church’s fellowship in 1997, Phelps invited Willis to the front of the room. Willis apologized to the group for not being faithful to his wife, Earle said.

“I can remember saying to my husband, I don’t understand it’s any of our business why this is being brought up,” Earle said. Phelps then told parishioners a second matter was at hand; he invited the victim to apologize for getting pregnant.

“I can still see the little girl standing up there with this smile on her face trying to get through this,” Earle said.

New Hampshire results silence NOM’s Maggie Gallagher

Timothy Kincaid

March 20th, 2010

gallagherOn March 10th, National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher was euphoric. She was joyously reporting that the residents of New Hampshire had voted to reject same-sex marriage (National Review Online)

Of the vote results reported by the Union-Leader, along with a couple from the Concord Monitor, seventeen towns approved and three rejected the article.

Voting for a marriage amendment were: Charlestown (620-305), Kingston (719-346), Milton (385-285), Littleton (912-627), Wakefield (504-242), Dunbarton (77-58), Kingston (719-346), Windham (1,428-832), Epsom (422-225), Bedford (2,783-1,040), Hampstead (1,190-499), Allenstown (383-198), Auburn, Swanzey (542-422), Stark (unanimously), Pittsburg (64-4), and Belmont.

Rejecting were Newhampton, Salisbury (30-27), and Northumberland (57-104).

This is a partial list; still looking for full electoral info.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! She chortled in her joy.

To understand what this means, we have to take a step back and look at how same-sex marriage came to New Hampshire and what these town votes mean.

New Hampshire is one of two states in which the legislature passed a bill which was signed by the governor which changed the family law code to allow same-sex couples to marry. This was not due to a lawsuit or other court action but was an act of the purest representative government.

To reverse this law, anti-gay activists have a few options.

They can vote for representatives who oppose marriage equality who could then repeal the law. But while it is possible for marriage rights to appear and disappear with the change (or whim) of the elected representatives, many legislators are hesitant to play so cavalierly with the lives of their constituents. Further, the representatives are aware that changing laws back and forth create complexities and legal confusion which would both make their jobs more difficult and open them up to criticism.

They can lobby for a change in the constitution, a one-time fix. However, New Hampshire does not have a initiative process and the constitution can only be changed in two ways.

The state has a provision by which a constitutional convention can be called. Every ten years (or by a majority of both houses) the people vote on whether to call a convention (the next vote is scheduled for 2012). Then delegates are elected and a convention convened. Amendments to the constitution require a 3/5 vote of the delegates and a 2/3 vote of the people. Anti-gay activists may encourage a “yes” vote on the next constitutional convention question.

The second method for changing the constitution for both houses, by a 3/5 vote, to place an amendment on the ballot. Such an amendment would require a 2/3 affirmative vote of the electorate. And it was towards the last method that the rhetoric of the anti-gay activists was directed. NOM (among others) sought to demonstrate that it was the will of the people that they be allowed to vote on the issue. And this was the focus of their language: marriage is too important to be decided by the legislature, it should have the input of the people.

NOM was hoping that folks who were moderate or even supportive of marriage would agree that a “people’s vote” was needed. And once it was on the ballot, they would dump tens of millions of dollars (from undisclosed sources) to fund a campaign of bald-faced lies and seek to enshrine the doctrines of some religious organizations into civil law.

To put pressure on the legislature and create an impression of public support, anti-gay activists used a political mechanism that is peculiar to New England states: the town meeting, a gathering of the residents to determine town business. They sought to have the towns demand of the state that the residents be allowed to vote on marriage equality.

There are (basically) two types of town meeting. A traditional type, which is a public gathering on the second Tuesday in March, works well for small communities. And, since 1995, the state has allowed a two-part meeting (called an SB2 Meeting) in which first a deliberate session is held, which creates wording, and then residents vote through polling places. These votes occur on the second Tuesday of March, April, or May. To get a matter up for consideration at a town meeting, concerned citizens can collect twenty-five signatures on a petition.

So anti-gay activists organized to have towns pass a non-binding resolution, an “opinion of the people”, if you will, to ask the legislature to “let us vote. And using the town meeting approach was actually a pretty smart move. Cities, such as Portsmouth or Dover, don’t have a non-binding resolution process, so any results would skew towards smaller towns or rural communities where conservative sentiment was more likely to thrive. Further, those fired up to “fight the homosexual agenda” were more likely to attend than residents who weren’t much interested either way.

The best scenario for anti-gay activists would be for each town to endorse the “let us vote” effort by 2/3 of the residents. This could allow NOM to spin the results as evidence that a constitutional amendment would pass and that residents demand their rights. But success would be a majority of voters – or a majority of towns – which would allow Maggie and Brian to claim that they speak for “the people”.

Even “a majority of those towns which voted”, while meaningless, would allow Maggie a press release (for NOM it’s all about perception and spin) and a “victory”. Any result which could be stretched to suggest that the legislators were out of touch with the residents of New Hampshire.

Thus the gloating comments she made at NRO.

But it seems that Maggie forgot to comment once the “full electoral info” was found. And she has good reason not to want to discuss the decisions of the New Hampshire towns.

Dean Barker at Blue Hampshire has compiled the votes to date, and here is what he found:

Traditional meetings:

28 towns supported the anti-gay effort
61 towns did not provide enough signatures
31 towns tabled the bill, refusing to even vote on it
33 towns voted “no” on the measure
1 town flipped the effort and voted to commend the state for supporting equality

SB2 Meetings:

31 towns supported the anti-gay effort
10 towns did not provide enough signatures
14 towns amended the language in the deliberative session, killing the petition
1 town flipped the effort but failed to vote to commend the state for supporting equality

There are 11 towns yet to decide. But of the 210 towns which could have supported the efforts of the anti-gay activists, only 59 chose to do so. Few of those were by a 2/3 vote.

Of course NOM and the other participants at LetNHVote are seeking to spin this as a victory. They simply don’t count the towns in which the motion was tabled or in which the deliberative sessions killed the effort, and claim that of the towns in which the residents did decide to vote, they won a majority.

But their claims ring a little hollow. It’s a bit like celebrating because the people inside the ice cream parlor voted that they like ice cream.

And for some reason, Maggie’s chortling has turned to silence.

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On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.