Posts Tagged As: New Hampshire

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?

New Hampshire Would be the Sixth What, Exactly?

Timothy Kincaid

May 8th, 2009

New Hampshire could be the sixth gay marriage something-or-other, but finding the language to fit is not a straight-forward task. Considering the methods by which states have reached (and retreated from) marriage rights, putting them in order depends on what one is measuring.

The order in which states have granted recognition to same sex couples

1. District of Columbia 1992 (blocked by Congress until 2002)
2. Hawaii 1997
3. California 1999
4. Vermont 1999
5. Connecticut 2005
6. New Jersey 2004
7. Maine 2004
8. New Hampshire 2007
9. Washington 2007
10. Oregon 2007
11. Maryland 2008
12. Iowa 2009
13. Colorado 2009

The order in which courts have found that states must provide marriage and/or all its rights and benefits to same-sex couples:

1. Hawaii 1993/1997 (reversed by Constitutional amendment)
2. Vermont 1999
3. Massachusetts 2003
4. New Jersey 2006
5. California 2008 (perhaps reversed by Constitutional amendment)
6. Connecticut 2008
7. Iowa 2009

The order in which states provided virtually all of the same benefits as marriage

1. Vermont 1999
2. California 2003 (with subsequent minor adjustments to fix differences)
3. Massachusetts 2003
4. Connecticut 2005
5. District of Columbia 2006 (with adjustment in 2008)
6. New Jersey 2006
7. New Hampshire 2007
8. Oregon 2007
9. Washington 2009
10. Maine 2009

The order in which legal marriages were first performed

1. Massachusetts – 5/17/2004
2. Iowa – 8/31/2007 (only one)
3. California – 6/16/2008
4. Connecticut – 11/4/2008
5. Vermont – 9/1/2009 (Scheduled)
6. Maine – around 9/14/2009 (Scheduled)

The order in which continuous legal marriages began to be offered

1. Massachusetts – 5/17/2004
2. Connecticut – 11/4/2008
3. Iowa – 4/27/09
4. Vermont – 9/1/2009 (Scheduled)
5. Maine – around 9/14/2009 (Scheduled)

And should New Hampshire\’s bill be signed, it will be sixth.

I Predict a New Hampshire Decision Today

Timothy Kincaid

May 8th, 2009

Governor Lynch received the New Hampshire marriage bill on Wednesday, the 6th. He has 5 days to respond.

Politicians seeking to minimize a news story love to go to the press on Friday afternoon. Folks tend to be socially engaged on the weekend, and less likely to watch the news. Additionally, the talk shows and news commentaters are off and by the time that Monday rolls around there’s a good chance that their story will have been eclipsed.

Governor Lynch is going to suffer outrage regardless of whether he signs or vetoes this legislation, or even if he just lets it go into effect without his signature. So, if I were him, I’d announce my decision late today.

UPDATE:

It looks like my predition did not come true.

I’m not certain as to the actual deadline for Governor Lynch’s signature. If he does not sign or veto within five days, the bill becomes law. By my count, that will be Tuesday, May 12. However, I’m not completely clear as to whether that includes weekend days and some are suggesting (thanks Bruno) that there may be delay based on procedural requirements.

But in any case, we will know by next week at this time whether New Hampshire will be the sixth state which legally recognizes the right for same-sex couples to marry.

New Hampshire House OKs Senate Revisions to Marriage Bill

Timothy Kincaid

May 6th, 2009

Nashua Telegraph:

The House voted, 178-167, to accept a Senate-approved compromise (HB 436) that would let gays and lesbians marry next Jan. 1.

If Lynch agreed, New Hampshire would become the sixth state where gays could marry.

Governor Lynch has not said whether he will sign, veto, or let the legislation go into effect without signature. I think that if he is forward thinking, he will not want this veto as part of his legacy.

The Current Status of Marriage Equality – 5/5/09

Timothy Kincaid

May 5th, 2009

Green = marriage; Yellow = needs Governor signature

Green = marriage; Yellow = needs Governor signature

With marriage equality issues changing so very quickly, here’s where the current status stands (my apologies for any inaccuracies):

California – the State Supreme Court has until June 6 to announce whether Proposition 8 is constitutional and, if so, what impact it has on the 18,000 same-sex couples who married between June and November 2008. There are mixed opinions on what the court will decide.

Colorado – The legislature passed a Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act, which has been signed by the Governor.

Illinois – a bill has been introduced to enact Civil Unions. The bill is currently waiting for a House vote.

Maine – The House and the Senate have both passed a marriage bill. Tomorrow it goes before the Senate for final approval and then to Gov. John Baldacci, who is “keeping an open mind”. Anti-Gays will immediately seek a “People’s Veto”, a process by which an enacted bill can be placed before the voters for an up or down vote. They would need about 55,000 valid signatures by the first of September. It would be led by Michael Heath who has established his reputation in Maine as an extremist and a homophobe.

Nevada – The Senate passed a bill to provide Domestic Partnerships with all the rights and obligations of marriage. It will go before the Assembly Judiciary on Friday. The Governor has promised to veto the bill but some sources say that there will be a compromise crafted before the legislature disbands in a month.

New Hampshire – The House and Senate have both passed a marriage bill. The Senate version had specific religious protections that were not in the House bill. The House Judiciary has approved the changes and they will go before a House vote tomorrow. The Governor has stated that he is opposed to gay marriage in the past but has not addresses this specific bill.

New York – A marriage bill has been introduced in the house. Log Cabin Republicans announced that they have found additional Republican support in the House for marriage. Senate Majority Leader Smith will not bring marriage to a vote in the Senate until adequate votes will assure its passage, which probably means that four to six Republicans will need to be convinced. Empire State Pride is doing polling in Republican districts and seeking to give them assurance that a vote for equality will not result in an election defeat.

Washington – a bill to upgrade the state\’s Domestic Partnerships to provide all the rights and obligations of marriage has passed the Senate and House with large margins and will be signed by the Governor. A petition has been filed to put it to the voters.

District of Columbia – the Council voted to recognize out of state marriages. This bill will be signed by the Mayor and then Congress has 30 days to review and possibly overturn it by a majority vote in both houses and the signature of the President. A same-sex marriage bill is expected later this year.

Also see our last synopsis on April 9

NH House Committee Approves Senate Amendment

Timothy Kincaid

May 5th, 2009

Per the Washington Blade:

A House committee endorsed a proposal Tuesday that’s already been approved in the Senate. The bill comes up for a vote in the House on Wednesday. It distinguishes between civil and religious marriage and says any two individuals have a right to a civil marriage. The proposal leaves it up to each religion whether to recognize and officiate over same-sex marriages.

New Hampshire Legislature Passes Marriage Equality

Timothy Kincaid

April 29th, 2009

Rueters is reporting:

New Hampshire’s Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would legalize same-sex marriage after an amendment was added that prohibits polygamy and marriage of family members, among other measures.

The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives on March 26 but looked set for near certain defeat in the Senate before the amendment, which appeared to mollify some critics in the Democrat-controlled chamber.

The last-minute changes to the legislation would allow clergy to decline to marry homosexual couples and give couples the freedom to either keep the words “bride” and “groom” on marriage licenses, or simply use the word “spouse” instead.

The bill now goes back to the House to resolve the variances and then to the Governor for signature.

Governor John Lynch has said in the past that he does not support gay marriage, but the religious protections – along with a new poll showing support – may give the governor adequate comfort.

New Hampshire Voters Support Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

April 28th, 2009

The New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition is reporting that a poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center finds support for marriage.

A poll released today by New Hampshire Freedom to Marry shows that 55% of New Hampshire Voters support marriage for lesbian and gay couples, while 39% are opposed.

The Senate will vote on the marriage bill tomorrow.

New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Opposes Marriage Equality

Timothy Kincaid

April 23rd, 2009

From the Boston Globe:

The state Senate’s Judiciary Committee has recommended that the Legislature reject legalizing gay marriage in New Hampshire.

The committee voted 3-2 Thursday against a bill that passed the House last month. Committee Chairwoman Deborah Reynolds, a Democrat, said she doesn’t think New Hampshire is ready for gay marriage. Republicans who voted against it said marriage is an institution created and defined by God as between one man and one woman.

New Hampshire Republicans have clearly never cracked the bindings of a Bible. I’m hard pressed to think of a single Biblical hero who actually was in a traditional marriage. Most had more than “one woman”, some married their siblings, some married total strangers, some had children with slaves, some were eunuchs, some eschewed marriage altogether, and some married prostitutes.

New Hampshire Marriage Hearing on Wednesday

Timothy Kincaid

April 12th, 2009

From the Boston Globe:

The Senate will hold a hearing Wednesday on whether to make New Hampshire the fourth state to allow gay couples to marry.

The House narrowly passed the measure last month. Democratic Gov. John Lynch opposes gay marriage but has not said specifically that he would veto it.

Someone should inform the Globe that though Iowa is outside of New England, it still is a state. New Hampshire would be the sixth state to allow gay couples to marry and the fifth in which same-sex marriages could still be performed.

State sanctioned same-sex marriages were allowed in the following order:

  • Massachusetts: May 17, 2004 onward
  • Iowa: August 31, 2007 (one couple) and again from April 27, 2009 onward
  • California: June 16, 2008 through November 4, 2008
  • Connecticut: November 12, 2008 onward
  • Vermont: September 1, 2009 onward

State Marriage Equality Update

Timothy Kincaid

April 9th, 2009

There has been a lot of movement recently in various states on the issue of recognition for same-sex couples. Here is a brief synopsis (I apologize if I missed anything):

Arkansas – on March 27, a bill was killed that would have banned cities and counties from creating domestic partner registries.

California – the State Supreme Court is deliberating on whether Proposition 8 is constitutional and, if so, what impact it has on the 18,000 same-sex couples who married between June and November 2008.

Colorado – at least two initiative drives are underway to either change the constitution to allow for gay marriage or alternately to statutorily create civil unions. The legislature has just passed a Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act, which has been signed by the Governor.

Connecticut – last week codified – with bipartisan support – marriage equality in the state\’s laws to agree with the decision of the state Supreme Court.

Delaware – proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage defeated in the Senate in the last week in March.

Hawaii – Civil Unions bill was tied up in committee. Although the bill has a strong majority of support in the Senate, they voted not to pull it from committee.

Illinois – a bill (HB 0178) has been introduced to legalize same-sex marriage along with a bill (HB 2234) to enact Civil Unions. The marriage bill is resting in the Rules Committee but the Civil Unions bill passed out of committee in March and now faces a House vote.

Iowa – last week the Supreme Court found that the state must recognize same-sex marriage. It will go into effect on April 27. The Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Speaker of the House have all announced that they will oppose efforts to change the Constitution. Iowa has no initiative process so it would require a change in leadership and several years before it would be possible to revoke this right.

Maine – both a marriage bill and a civil unions bill are before the legislature. The Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on April 24. Gov. John Baldacci is “keeping an open mind”.

Maryland – on April 7, the State Senate upgraded benefits offered to same-sex couples in domestic partnership relationships but do not allow for official state recognition of those relationships.

Minnesota – there is a bill before the legislature to provide new marriage equality. It is unlikely to pass.

Nevada – a bill to provide Domestic Partnerships with all the rights and obligations of marriage has passed out of committee and is before the Senate.

New Hampshire – at the end of March the House passed a bill to allow for gay marriage. It will be considered by the Senate, where Democrats have a 14-9 advantage (a dozen Republicans in the House supported the bill). Governor John Lynch has not stated whether he will veto the legislation, should it pass.

New Jersey – a commission has found that civil unions are inadequate and polls have found that residents favor gay marriage but a bill before the legislature appears not to be moving.

New Mexico – in March the Senate defeated efforts to enact Domestic Partnerships.

New York – the Governor has announced that he will push for a vote in the Senate on gay marriage. Although marriage equality has passed in the House, without support from some Republicans, the votes do not appear to be there in the Senate.

Rhode Island – a gay marriage bill is unlikely to make it out of committee. A “reciprocal beneficiary agreements” bill, a darling of anti-gays who want to label gay couples as identical to roommates or cousins, has been proposed as a “compromise”.

Vermont – this week the legislature overrode the governor\’s veto to pass marriage equality.

Washington – a bill to upgrade the state\’s Domestic Partnerships to provide all the rights and obligations of marriage has passed the Senate and will come before the House soon.

West Virginia – last week the House of Delegates defeated a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.

Wisconsin – the Supreme Court is being asked to review the constitutional ban on marriage. The Governor, in his budget, has proposed Domestic Partnership benefits.

Wyoming – in February the House defeated a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

District of Columbia – the Council voted unanimously to recognize out of state marriages. Same-sex marriage bill expected later this year.

New Hampshire House Votes for Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

March 26th, 2009

Boston Globe reports:

The House has voted to make New Hampshire the third state allowing gays to marry two years after they granted them the right to enter into civil unions.

The House voted 186-179 to send the bill to the Senate. The first attempt to pass the bill fell one vote short, but opponents were unable to kill it. The House then reconsidered and passed the measure.

So the race is on.

Will Vermont’s House give a veto-proof vote for marriage to become the third state? Will New Hampshire’s Senate vote yes and a reluctant Gov. Lynch allow it to become law? Will New York’s Senate leadership grow a pair and bring the bill up for certain passage? Will California’s Supremes give that state back its status as a marriage equality state? Or will either New Jersey or Maine quietly step out of the shadows to steal the title?

Astonishingly Stupid Comment of the Week

Timothy Kincaid

February 6th, 2009

New Hamphire’s legislature is debating whether to allow its same-sex couples to marry. But, of course, to have an effective debate one must at least be within shouting distance of comprehension and logic.

I don’t think Rep. Itse is quite within range:

Republican state Rep. Daniel Itse said gay marriage would cause out-of-wedlock births to rise in New Hampshire, adding that the debate itself and civil unions have already cheapened marriage.

“Young people now see no need to get married,” Itse said. “It just doesn’t mean anything anymore.”

OK. I’m having trouble with this one. But as best I can tell, he’s arguing that heterosexual couples will have out-of-wedlock children if gay people marry. If gay people are trying so very hard to get the right to marry, this will tell children that it has no value. And it’s already too late; due to the debate over the importance of marriage, it just doesn’t mean anything anymore.

Ummmm… yeah. That is definitedly the most astonishingly stupid comment of the week.

NH House Takes Up Competing Marriage Bills

Jim Burroway

February 5th, 2009

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee today will hear testimony on two competing bills on same-sex marriage. One bill would repeal New Hampshire’s 2007 civil unions law and further ban same-sex marriage. The bill one would enact same-sex marriages, and provide couples who already entered into a civil union the right to upgrade their legal status to that of a marriage.

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson will testify in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages.

Marriage Rights Predictions for 2009

Timothy Kincaid

January 2nd, 2009

2008 was an exciting year – with both highs and lows – for marriage equality. But the upcoming year is likely to be exciting as well. Here are a discussions and some projections about the direction of marriage equality in 2009.

Of course, my crystal ball is probably no better tuned into the future than yours, but here are my guesses and some states to watch.

California: In March, the California State Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether Proposition 8 is a valid amendment to the state constitution.

The relatively close margin on the vote coupled with the dominance of political positioning in opposition to the amendment will provide the court with the sort of political cover that could allow them to judge in favor of equality. Further, as the state moved from a 61.4% opposition in 2000 to a 52.3% in 2008, jurists may hesitate to uphold an initiative that can predictably be contrary to the wishes of the majority of Californians within the next few years.

Additionally, there is little threat of voter reprisal for three of the justices who ruled favorably on In Re Marriage Cases. Carlos Moreno and Kathryn Werdegar are not up for a confirmation vote until 2014 and Joyce Kennard is safe until 2018. Chief Justice Ronald George is due for confirmation in 2010, but as he is already Enemy Number One to anti-gay activists it’s unlikely that this will weigh much in his decision.

Interestingly, Ming Chin – a dissenting vote on marriage in May – may feel pressure from two fronts in his consideration of this case. Chin is up for confirmation in 2010 and it would be naïve to think that he is not aware of the political backlash and massive organization that resulted from the outcome of Proposition 8. I think he is aware that his decision, either way, will engender a movement to oppose his confirmation. Additionally, Chin, as an Asian American, may recognize that the stripping of fundamental rights – whether or not he initially supported them – from a protected minority can establish a precedent that has long legs and severe consequences.

This is difficult to call, but I think that I will cautiously predict that the CA Supreme Court finds that a fundamental right cannot be removed from a suspect class by means of a majority vote. I will go so far as to say that I would not be surprised to see a greater than 4-3 split on this issue.

Should, however, the Court rule against equality, be prepared for state-wide protests and for the creation of a political machine to collect signatures to get a reversal amendment on the ballot in 2010 as well as to deny reconfirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin.

Iowa: The state Supreme Court heard arguments this month on whether the state’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. They should announce their decision at some point within the first half of the year.

Although a Midwestern agricultural state, Iowa is not necessarily conservative. And the Supreme Court has a tradition of early progressive action. The notions articulated in California’s In Re Marriages about fundamental rights and suspect class may feel comfortable to Iowa justices.

I’m not making a call on this one. But should equality prevail, there is no initiative process in Iowa. Those seeking to overturn the decision would either have to rely on a constitutional amendment occurring by means of a majority vote in two consecutive legislatures (unlikely with the current Democrat legislature) and a popular vote in 2012 at the earliest. Alternately, the citizens could vote for a constitutional convention in 2010, which is rather unlikely.

New York: This state is situated to be the first state to voluntarily select marriage equality, should it so choose. The state Assembly has already voted favorably and the Governor is supportive; the only glitch is a handful of Democratic Senators who are seeking to hold up the confirmation of the Democratic Senate Leader in order to oppose marriage equality and advance their own political profile.

I predict that ultimately Senator Smith will become the Senate Majority Leader. And I think that the shenanigans of Senator Diaz have not endeared him to Smith or many in the Democratic Caucus. No doubt some Senators would like nothing better than legalizing gay marriage and conducting the first one on the sidewalk outside Diaz’ house.

However, with Diaz and two others (at least) balking, marriage equality cannot be achieved in New York without some Republican support. Interestingly, this comes at a time when the G.O.P. in the state is seeking to shed it’s anti-gay image. Currently, Log Cabin Republicans are active in both NYC and in the Hudson Valley and several Assembly Republicans voted in favor of marriage last year. And their relationship with the Party has been improving recently.

So while Dean Skelos, incoming Senate Minority Leader, will not support the effort, opposition to the bill will not be in the form of fiery homophobia and there will not be threats of reprisals against any Republican Senators that break rank and support marriage equality.

Frankly, I don’t think that New York has the votes in the Senate. And there may be reluctance on the part of legislators and the gay community to jump before enough votes are committed. So even though the Democratic Party ran on the issue of passing marriage equality in the Senate and even though much of the change in power came from gay support, I think we should not expect marriage in New York in 2009.

One factor that may influence this, however, is the action of New York’s neighbors (see discussion below). Should a New England state move to marriage equality, that might be a bit influential and supportive. But if it looks like New Jersey will legalize marriage, state pride may push New York legislators to twist arms and get this on the books.

New Hampshire: The state has had Civil Unions for a year and already there are expressions of discontent and a move to legalize full marriage. Last week, State Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, submitted a bill to legalize marriage.

However, Governor John Lynch opposes this effort and even if those who voted for civil unions all favor marriage, they do not have the votes to override a veto.

I predict that this bill will not make it to the floor for a vote.

Vermont: This state has had civil unions for eight years with no discernable negative consequences. A commission reported in April 2008 that marriages would provide many tangible and intangible benefits that are not achieved through civil unions. While this came too late for action in 2008, there will be a vote in 2009 whether to legalize marriage.

Governor Jim Douglas has stated his opposition to the bill but he’s not indicated whether he would veto the legislation or allow it to become law without his signature.

My guess is that this legislation will stall, eventually pass, but be vetoed by the Governor. But a public outcry in favor of marriage could result in Douglas passively letting the bill become law.

Maine: There is a relatively below-the-radar movement to bring marriage equality to a vote in the Maine Legislature in 2009. Whether or not successful, anti-gay activists are likely to try for a constitutional amendment in 2010. I have no predictions on this.

New Jersey: New Jersey has had civil unions for two years. But a commission released this month reported that civil unions were not adequate to address the needs of gay couples and recommended that marriage be instituted. A poll in August 2008 found that over half of New Jersey residents prefer marriage equality and nearly 60% would be accepting of the decision if the legislature were to enact gay marriage, especially if the commission recommended the change.

Governor Jon Corzine responded to the report by stating that marriage should be legalized in the state “sooner rather than later”. Legislative leaders are saying that the issue is a matter of “when” and not “if” marriage equality would be legislated. They may be seeking to feel the direction of the political wind as all of the legislators and the Governor are up for election in 2009.

Working towards equality, the NY Times editorialized on the 20th that New Jersey politicians should live up to their principles.

I tentatively predict that the legislature will vote early in 2009 for marriage equality.


New Mexico
: In 2008 the Senate Judiciary Committee tabled efforts to pass a Domestic Partnership bill which had passed the state House. However, efforts may have more favorable conditions in 2009.

The New Mexico Independent is reporting that HB21/SB12, a bill to provide all the rights and responsibilities of marriage to registered partners, will be considered shortly after the legislature reconvenes in later this month. The success of this bill will depend to a great extent on Senate committee assignments.

I predict that this measure will pass and that Governor Bill Richardson will sign it into law.


Other states
: I predict that some states other than those listed above will address marriage or couple recognition. Perhaps Washington will act on marriage or a Plains State will provide a domestic partnership or other registered benefits scheme. Alternately, emboldened by Proposition 8, some anti-gays may begin efforts to pass constitutional bans in other states.

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