The National Organization for Marriage spent a quarter million dollars lobbying in New Hampshire. Republicans held majorities in both of the Granite State’s legislative bodies. And the latest tool in stopping delaying same-sex marriage equality is to “let the voters decide” on whether queers should have equal rights or not.
None of it worked. Voters will not be deciding on whether or not gays can get married — something they have been able to do for over two years without the state being destroyed by an apocalyptic disaster — and marriage equality lives on in New Hampshire. Marriage minded gays in that state can live free to die another day.
It’s a significant victory for marriage equality activists in New Hampshire and nationally. Since New York State enacted marriage equality last summer, activists have seen numerous setbacks around the country. Even the victories, in places like Washington State and Maryland, are marginal at best: legislative advances are tempered when NOM pushes, quite successfully, to move the issue from the statehouse to the ballot box. And while NOM may ultimately lose at the polls (public opinion moves increasingly without wavering towards greater public acceptance of same-sex marriage), their tactics delay equality for those gay and lesbian Americans who cannot wait to be married to the person they love.
This didn’t happen in New Hampshire. The legislature refused to deny their role in a representative democracy, and even with a Republican majority in New Hampshire’s house, a bill to repeal equality and turn the issue to voters failed by 116 to 211.
Yes, 116 to 211. In a legislature controlled by Republicans.
Would the bill ever realistically have passed, with Democratic Governor John Lynch and his promised veto? Who knows. There was the possibility of an override, and Lynch will not be governor forever.
But now that conjecture is unnecessary, because equality is still the law of the land in New Hampshire. It’s significant — and fitting, in a state whose motto is “Live Free Or Die” — that a Republican controlled legislature would say, No, we’re not going to take away the equal freedom we’ve finally, recently granted to our LGBT citizens. And in the battleground state which votes first in the nation, same-sex marriage won’t become a wedge issue come November.