Same-Sex marriage faces test in New Hampshire as lawmakers consider repeal

January 15, 2012

By Judson Berger |

The same-sex marriage movement is about to face a critical test, as New Hampshire lawmakers prepare to vote on a proposal to repeal the state’s 2009 gay marriage law.

With a vote expected on the House floor as early as Wednesday, foes and supporters of the law are clashing in a battle over whether New Hampshire will be the first state to reverse the tide of same-sex marriage with a legislative vote. The debate marks a sharp contrast to the landmark decision last summer to legalize gay marriage in nearby New York, the largest state to approve the unions.

“It’s very significant,” New Hampshire state Rep. David Bates, the bill’s sponsor, told “This will be the first place ever, anywhere in the world, where a legislature has reversed its position on same-sex marriage. … That hasn’t happened anywhere.”

Yet the bill’s chances are unclear. Republicans have an overwhelming majority in both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature, but not all Republicans are on board with Bates’ bill. And Democratic Gov. John Lynch has vowed to veto, in which case repeal supporters would need to rally a two-thirds majority to override the governor’s objections.

Bates said he expects the bill to pass the legislature, but that the “real question” is over the veto override.

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