November 07, 2009

Could Maine Loss Impact New Hampshire Equality?

From Foster's Daily Journal (NH)

Now that gay marriage has been defeated in Maine, attention again shifts to New Hampshire, where lawmakers say momentum from Tuesday's vote may fuel legislation to repeal the state's law and give voters a say.

Two proposals are being drafted in the N.H. House: One would repeal the law Gov. John Lynch signed in June and re-establish civil unions; the other is a constitutional amendment that would charge voters with deciding if "the state shall only recognize the union of one man and one woman as marriage."

Supporters of same-sex marriage are strategizing and gearing up for a fight, said Rep. Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, who sponsored the gay marriage law. He said momentum doesn't rest with gay-marriage foes.

"The momentum is on our side and those of us who support equality and love over hate," he said Wednesday.

Even so, "we have a fight cut out for us in January" when the Legislature reconvenes, he said. "But I think virtually everyone in the House and Senate who voted for marriage equality will stick with us and I'm hoping we'll pick up some others."

Others see the Maine results propelling similar action across state lines.

Kevin Smith, executive director of the Cornerstone Policy Research in Manchester, said the Maine election can't be chalked up to conservatives coming out of the woodwork because a proposal that would have lowered taxes was defeated and expanding the use of medical marijuana passed in the same election.

Counting on the political process to establish equality unfortunately means the fight is NEVER over, as the folks in Maine learned and those in New Hampshire may soon also live through.

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