New Hampshire lawmakers delay anti-gay marriage bills until 2012


CONCORD — Lawmakers in New Hampshire this week postponed action until next year on two bills aimed at repealing the state’s gay marriage law.

The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously 15-0 to retain the two bills, HB 437 and HB 343, in committee, and not consider them again until 2012.

The Nashua Telegraph reports:

Foes and supporters of same-sex marriage wanted the House to act definitively on repeal this spring.

“We are disappointed the Judiciary Committee did not defeat these bills today,” said Lew Feldstein, co-chair of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, a pro-gay marriage group opposing repeal.

“Lawmakers just kicked the can down the road only to come back again next year to take up marriage, yet again,” he said.

The panel also recommended killing a third bill that would have replaced same-sex marriage unions with domestic partnerships.

The effort to ban gay marriage in New Hampshire is being led by Rep. David Bates (R-Windham), who said that no action on the bills would be taken until next January to give lawmakers time to focus on the economy.

“I have been assured the effort to restore traditional marriage will have the full support of House leadership when the time comes to take it up next year,” Bates said.

Last month, a WMUR-TV Granite State Poll showed 62 percent of survey respondents oppose repeal of the 2009 law that legalized same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.

The law took effect on Jan, 1, 2010.

Governor John Lynch (D), who signed the original marriage equality bill into law, has said he would veto a repeal bill.

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