CONCORD, N.H. — A bipartisan coalition of business, civic, community leaders, and residents who support marriage equality have launched a grass-roots campaign to stop lawmakers from repealing New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law.
A spokesman for the group — Standing Up for New Hampshire Families — said that GOP lawmakers should focus solely on creating jobs, assisting businesses, and reinvigorating the economic climate in the state, and not on repealing the law that has been in effect almost two years which legalizes same-sex marriages.
Former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, who is currently dean of the University of New Hampshire Law School, is a supporter of the new group. Broderick issued a statement Thursday coinciding with the announcement, saying “it would be tragic to turn back the clock to the dark days of discrimination, intolerance and false stereotypes.”
Standing Up for New Hampshire Families plans to operate a phone bank to call lawmakers urging them to vote against the bill.
Last week, New Hampshire lawmakers moved another step closer to repealing the state’s 15-month-old law, when 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The committee also recommended killing a second bill that would have simply repealed the gay marriage law.
The bill would not enact the same civil unions law that was in effect before gays were allowed to marry. The former civil unions 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, and would allow anyone to discriminate against such couples in employment, housing and public accommodations based on religious or moral beliefs.
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.
Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in only six states — New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont — and the District of Columbia.