The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-6 to recommend eliminating gay marriage rights for same-sex couples, and to instead establish civil unions for any unmarried adults competent to enter into a contract, including relatives.
The committee also recommended killing a second bill that would have simply repealed the gay marriage law.
Democratic Gov. John Lynch has repeatedly said he will veto attempts by the Republican-controlled Legislature to repeal the law, which he signed in 2009.
New Hampshire enacted civil unions in 2007 for same-sex couples and two years later replaced that law with the marriage law. Lynch also signed the civil unions 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 the couples in employment, housing and public accommodations based on religious or moral beliefs.Associated Press, via the Boston Globe
Tuesday’s action follows a subcommittee recommendation that the House pass the bill to repeal the law, which took effect last year and legalized same-sex unions.
The full House will now vote on the bill in early January. If passed, it would than go before the State Senate, and a public hearing would be held on the proposed legislation.
New Hampshire is currently one of only six states, along with the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal.