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Gay marriage foes not giving up on New Hampshire repeal, even if not on GOP’s agenda

Gay marriage foes not giving up on New Hampshire repeal, even if not on GOP’s agenda

CONCORD, N.H. — Gay marriage opponents said Thursday they are confident the New Hampshire state House will vote on legislation to repeal the law that sanctions gay marriage, even though Republican leaders have said it is not on their list of priorities this year.

State Rep. David Bates, who is sponsoring one of two repeal bills, said the issue’s exclusion from Republicans’ priorities should not be misconstrued.

“Leadership simply announced their top priorities,” he said.

On Thursday, House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt unveiled the House GOP’s legislative agenda which focuses on jobs and the economy. Bettencourt said social issues will take a back seat.

Kevin Smith, executive director of the conservative advocacy group Cornerstone Action, said he met with Bettencourt and Speaker of the House William O’Brien on the issue of gay marriage. He said he is confident that the GOP will take it up at the appropriate time.

Mo Baxley, executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, said she was pleased Republican leaders recognized gay marriage was not the reason voters sent them to Concord, but acknowledged that gay marriage opponents will keep working towards repeal.

Bettencourt said there is a possibility that Republicans will pursue a repeal of gay marriage after they have passed legislation related to jobs, the economy, and education.

Gay marriage was enacted in 2009 when Democrats controlled the New Hampshire Legislature. Democratic Gov. John Lynch signed the law, which took effect on Jan. 1 , 2010. He has since said he would veto any repeal attempt.

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