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Just weeks after legalizing gay marriage, new efforts seek to repeal NH law

Just weeks after legalizing gay marriage, new efforts seek to repeal NH law

Three weeks after New Hampshire legalized same-sex marriage, opponents are asking the House to repeal the law and let voters amend the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Couples gather for midnight ceremonies January 1, 2010 when NH legalized gay marriage.

The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on two Republican-sponsored proposals that many expect the House to reject when they are brought to the floor in the next few weeks.

One is a bill, sponsored by Rep. L. Mike Kappler, which would repeal same-sex marriage and the state 2007 civil union law.

The other is the constitutional amendment, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Itse, which would state that “the state shall only recognize the union of one man and one woman as marriage.”

For former Judiciary Committee member Brandon Browne, D-Dover, the passage of the equal marriage bill in 2009 was “a strong step forward for equal civil, religious, and individual rights,” and he opposes any legislation which would represent a “step back” from what he considers progress.

For a constitutional amendment to become law in new Hampshire, it needs 3/5 approval in the House and Senate and 2/3 approval from the voters.

Democrats hold a firm majority in the NH statehouse, and appear eager to dispose of the gay marriage debate and other controversial measures early in the session to avoid lingering discussion in this election year.

Gay marriage opponents know their chances of success are slim at this point, but are looking to the November election in hopes Republicans will regain control in Concord, and succeed then in repealing the law.

New Hampshire’s law legalizing gay marriage took effect Jan. 1. New Hampshire joined Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Vermont in allowing the unions.

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