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Posts for February, 2010

NH Rep. Nancy Elliot gives sex-ed lessons

Timothy Kincaid

February 12th, 2010

On Tuesday, New Hampshire Representative Nancy Elliot decided that a discussion over repealing the state’s marriage equality law could be spiced up a bit by a little discussion about anal sex.

QUEERTY.COM nancy elliot new hampshire from Queerty on Vimeo.

Rep. Nancy Elliot: We heard in this hearing one of the people came to testify and they said that this is not normal. And I had to think about it a while. Y’know, what are we talking about?

And so, I started thinking, and we’re talking about taking the penis of one man and putting it in the rectum of another man, and wiggling it around in excrement. And I had to think, I’m not sure, would I allow that to be done to me? All of us, if something happened to you, would you let that happen to you?

Is that normal? Is that something that we want to portray as the same as the ‘one flesh union’ between a man and a woman? I dunno.

Um, then, I started to think, I remember when we were having the testimony, people were saying that um, it was brought up that this would rise to the schools and I’m thinking, “No, no. No no, that won’t happen.”

Well I heard yesterday from a mother that in the fifth grade, in Nashua, they were giving um, they were given as part of their classroom instruction, naked pictures of two men showing presentation of anal sex.

Chairman David Cote: Representative Elliot, let’s keep our discussion directly to the bill and not…

Elliot: This is directly to the bill!

Cuz, because we have made a marriage on same sex, they are now teaching it in the public schools. They are showing our fifth graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex.

And they are condoning, they are saying, “It’s normal and this is something that you may want to try.” That is the context of the lesson, that this is something that you, as fifth graders, may want to try.

I see it as a real problem in our society. I see it as a real affront to our citizens that their children are suspected to this.

And so I think that it is important that we revisit what we did. We made a mistake. We should repeal it.

Oh, my.

It certainly would be newsworthy if ten year-olds were being encouraged to try anal sex. But it now appears that the telephone call that Nancy Elliot was talking about receiving may have occurred at some point when she forgot to wear her tinfoil hat. (Nashua Telegraph)

Superintendent Mark Conrad said that school officials have asked all elementary school principals about the claim. Conrad said there is no evidence to substantiate Elliott’s comment and no parents have called to complain.

“We don’t have any information that this has occurred,” Conrad said Friday.

Congratulations to New Hampshire couples

Timothy Kincaid

January 2nd, 2010

As of the first moments of January 1, 2010, New Hampshire’s laws recognized marriage equality. Our most heart-felt congratulations to same-sex couples in that state for achieving civil equality (for state-based rights) and to all the citizens of that state for achieving a society that values its citizens more equally.

An Unequal Flag For Unequal Citizens

Jim Burroway

July 6th, 2009

This six star “Flag of Equal Marriage” represents the six states which have marriage equality, by order of their entry into the Union. The stars are arranged according to the order in which each state was admitted to the union, skipping over the states that do not have marriage equality. The six stars represent:

  • Connecticut – #5.
  • Massachusetts – #6.
  • New Hampshire – #9 (Effective Jan 1, 2010)
  • Vermont – #14 (Effective Sep 1, 2009)
  • Maine – #23 (Effective of Sep 14, 2009)
  • Iowa – #29

If this flag had been around in 2008, we would have seen California’ star (#31) go dark. There’s a move on right now to darken Maine’s star in November.

[Hat tip: David Schmader]

Today In Box Turtles

Jim Burroway

June 7th, 2009

Look in the lower right. Tom Toles’ editorial cartoon in today’s Washington Post warns of the dangers that Box Turtles pose to marriage:

And New Hampshire Makes Six

Timothy Kincaid

June 3rd, 2009

Today the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives passed the religious protections bill required by Governor Lynch to get his approval of the marriage equality bill. Lynch has promised to sign the marriage/religious protections combination package of three bills and New Hampshire will bring the total number of states granting same-sex marriages up to six.

Update: The AP reports:

New Hampshire’s governor has signed legislation making the state the sixth to allow gay marriage.

Gov. John Lynch was Surrounded by cheering supporters of the move as he signed the three bills about an hour after the key vote on the legislation in the House.

Marriage will begin in New Hampshire in January 1, 2010.

New Hampshire Marriage Back on Track

Timothy Kincaid

May 29th, 2009

The Boston Globe reports:

A little over a week after the House rejected language Gov. John Lynch had demanded, House and Senate negotiators agreed to a compromise Friday that added one sentence and changed one word in the Senate-passed bill. Negotiators planned to sign off on the final language by Monday, allowing for a vote by the full House and Senate on Wednesday.

Barring any additional unexpected hickups, marriage equality should be in place in New Hampshire by the end of next week.

Tracking New Hampshire’s Marriage Effort

Timothy Kincaid

May 28th, 2009

The marriage equality express in New Hampshire was unexpectedly sidetracked last week when some members of the House refused to accept the Governor’s language about religious protections, choosing instead to send the bill to a committee to craft language of their own.

The Nashua Telegraph has an update:

The Senate agreed Wednesday with the House to name a conference committee to craft a compromise on gay marriage.

Last week, the House narrowly turned down religious exemptions to the law that Gov. John Lynch had insisted upon.

House and Senate negotiators will meet and try to come up language acceptable to Lynch, as well as the House and Senate majorities by the time the Legislature meets in session next Wednesday.

Some Republicans in the Senate had sought to send the issue to a nonbinding referendum by the voters. However, New Hampshire’s Courts have found that the state’s Constitution does not allow for the use of such referenda to make legislative decisions. The Democrats in the Senate voted this proposal down.

Let’s hope the drive to make New Hampshire the sixth Marriage State will soon be back on track.

Positive Rumblings on New Hampshire Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2009

I am beginning to think that when the New Hampshire House voted down the marriage bill revisions requested by the Governor that it was not a vote about marriage at all. I think that those Republicans – and perhaps some Democrats – that are supportive of marriage are indignant that Governor Lynch, a Democrat, gets to have it both ways.

The Boston Globe carried a few quotes today which I found interesting

Key Republicans who switched sides indicated Thursday they’re open to supporting a compromise.

“I think the votes are there to pass it and put it on Governor Lynch’s desk,” said Rep. Anthony DiFruscia, a Windham Republican who lead the fight for negotiations.

Amherst Republican Cynthia Dokmo, who also voted against passage, said she would like to see the bill tweaked.

“I would like to see this bill pass,” she said. “It just seems to me it really doesn’t hurt anyone and it helps some people. It’s not going to affect my marriage.”

Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester Republican who also switched, argued Lynch’s proposed language provides churches broader ability to discriminate than do laws in Connecticut and Vermont.

“I need something that does not send a signal to the rest of the country that New Hampshire has gone farther than any other state,” said Vaillancourt.

It may well be that they objected to what they saw as partisan support for protecting a Democratic Governor from risk while they shouldered threats from within their party. They too may be chaffing at being handed wording from the executive office and told to rubber stamp it.

But from the words of these “no” votes, it seems likely to me that wording can be achieved that meets Gov. Lynch’s requirements but also can be seen as originating in the legislature. I think that the delay is simply that – a brief delay in passage.

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.

NH Anti-Gays Admit that “Religious Protections” are Redundant

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2009

Opponents of marriage equality only have a few arrows in their quiver. The strongest of these is “infringing on religious freedoms” and they have a handful of anecdotes that can be distorted to appear as though churches are going to lose their rights to speak or believe according to their faith.

Those who favor marriage equality consistently respond that we have no interest in infringing on their rights to religious self-determination nor are we trying to micro-manage their faith. And we point out that we couldn’t do so even if we wanted to; the First Amendment to the US Constitution protects the rights of religions.

However, in Connecticut and Vermont – and now proposed in New Hampshire – are reassurances, special provisions included to assure religions and those who practice them that their preachers and houses of worship will not be compelled to conduct ceremonies contrary to their faith. And those favoring marriage equality are not concerned because we know that these protections are already present in the Constitution.

But now that we offer these concessions, anti-gays are still not pleased. Because, as they’ve known all along, the objections which they raised were not truthful to begin with.

Consider the words of Kevin H. Smith, the executive director of anti-gay group Cornerstone Policy Research:

“The folks who [they are] claiming to be protecting in this bill are already protected in the First Amendment by the freedom of religion…”

Anti-gays have known all along that their claims that churches would lose their tax exempt status or preachers would be jailed was nothing but hot air. A convenient lie told to advance a political agenda, but one that they know full well is untrue.

The New New Hampshire Marriage Provision

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2009

Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire has released the language that he will require to be added to the marriage bill before his signature will allow New Hampshire to join five other states in providing marriage equality. In my opinion, this strikes a fair balance between providing civil equality and allowing churches their own autonomy.

I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of their religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society.

II. The marriage laws of this state shall not be construed to affect the ability of a fraternal benefit society to determine the admission of members pursuant to RSA 418:5, and shall not require a fraternal benefit society that has been established and is operating for charitable and educational purposes and which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the fraternal benefit society’s free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and part 1, article 5 of the Constitution of New Hampshire

III. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or construed to limit the protections and exemptions provided to religious organizations under RSA § 354-A:18.

IV. Repeal. RSA 457-A, relative to civil unions, is repealed effective January 1, 2011, except that no new civil unions shall be established after January 1, 2010.

These changes are expected to be implemented quickly and the first same-sex marriages in New Hampshire will occur in January 2010. (Boston Globe)

“I applaud the governor for keeping an open mind,” Senate president Sylvia Larsen said in an interview last night. “The language that we will be addressing only improves the protections for religious organizations and individuals.”

Representative James Splaine, the primary sponsor of the same-sex marriage legislation, said: “We can find a way to do that in the next week or two, and then we’ll have marriage equality.”

Lynch Will Sign Marriage…. IF

Timothy Kincaid

May 14th, 2009

The AP is reporting,

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch says he will sign a bill to make his state the sixth to legalize gay marriage, but only if it strengthens protections for churches opposed to gay marriage.

He says that the current protections should be beefed up to equal those of Connecticut and Vermont.

The language in HB 436 regarding protections is as follows:

457:37 Affirmation of Freedom of Religion in Marriage. Members of the clergy as described in RSA 457:31 or other persons otherwise authorized under law to solemnize a marriage shall not be obligated or otherwise required by law to officiate at any particular civil marriage or religious rite of marriage in violation of their right to free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or by part I, article 5 of the New Hampshire constitution.

There is a follow-up bill, HB 310, which provides as follows:

457:31-b Solemnization of Marriage; Applicability.

I. Nothing contained in this chapter shall affect the right of Jewish Rabbis residing in this state, or of the people called Friends or Quakers, to solemnize marriages in the way usually practiced among them, and all marriages so solemnized shall be valid. Jewish Rabbis residing out of the state may obtain a special license as provided by RSA 457:32.

II. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a person authorized to solemnize a marriage in a religious ceremony from solemnizing a marriage in a civil ceremony.

7 Affirmation of Freedom of Religion in Marriage. Amend RSA 457:37 to read as follows:

457:37 Affirmation of Freedom of Religion in Marriage.

I. Members of the clergy as described in RSA 457:31 or other persons otherwise authorized under law to solemnize a marriage shall not be obligated or otherwise required by law to officiate at any particular civil marriage or religious rite of marriage in violation of their right to free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or by part I, article 5 of the New Hampshire constitution.

II. No religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, shall be required to participate in a ceremony solemnizing marriage in violation of the religious beliefs of such organization, association, or society.

Taken in combination, the only protections in the Connecticut or Vermont legislation that do not appear to be explicitly stated here is whether such organizations are obligated to provide goods or services (e.g. a hall). I’ve no objection to such a clarification.

UPDATE:

Lynch has proposed his own specific language.

“If the Legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the Legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it,” Lynch said. “We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity. I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the Legislature to pass it.”

I do not yet have the specific proposed language.

UPDATE 2:

From Reuters:

The governor’s suggested changes would make clear that religious groups would not be required to perform gay weddings if their beliefs prohibited it, and that they would not be held liable in court for refusing such services.

The language would also make clear that social groups and other organizations affiliated with religious entities did not have to provide benefits to gay couples.

UPDATE 3:

New York Times says

Legislative leaders indicated they would allow the changes, making it all but certain that New Hampshire will become the sixth state to allow marriage between gay couples.

“New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections,” Mr. Lynch, a Democrat, said in a statement. “But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty.”

Does New Hampshire Now Have Same-Sex Marriage?

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2009

Law Dork thinks so. He points to this clause in the New Hampshire constitution:

If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within five days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it unless the legislature by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

The Union Leader reports that the bill went to the governor on May 6. Law Dork counted off the days (skipping Sunday) and concludes that if the Union Leader was correct, then the bill became law at midnight last night. That’s if the bill went to the governor on May 6.

Update: It looks like the answer is “not yet.” According to Sunday’s Nashua Telegraph, “The Senate-crafted compromise (HB 436) only got to Secretary of State Bill Gardner late Friday afternoon, while the second bill (HB 310) that fixes mistakes made in the first wasn’t there yet. At a minimum, what must follow are signatures from the Senate president, House speaker and key members on the House and Senate Enrolled Bills committee.” The official web page for the bill suggests that the Senate President may have affixed his signature yesterday, if I’m reading it correctly.

[Hat tip: Pam’s House Blend]

New Hampshire Poll: Residents Evenly Split on Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

May 12th, 2009

Per the Boston Herald

A new poll shows New Hampshire residents are evenly split on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Forty-five percent of those polled by Dartmouth College oppose legalizing gay marriage, and 41 percent support it. The difference was within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

What’s Holding Up New Hampshire?

Timothy Kincaid

May 12th, 2009

Last Wednesday the New Hampshire House approved the revisions made by the Senate to the marriage bill. We all expected this to elicit an immediate response from the Governor.

Then we found that the five day signature window was not from the time in which the legislature approved the bill but from when it reached his desk. And that there were formalities requiring various signatures.

But that was almost a week ago. And we still haven’t heard if the bill is on his desk yet. How are they transmitting this bill to each other for signature, taped to the back of a boxturtle?

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