Friday, June 03, 2005

Unite Free or Die

What report will the majority anti-gay-marriage commission do in New Hampshire if its public hearings are pro gay marriage? The 15-member commission held its first hearing and heard the herd say go for civil unions. It is supposed to turn in its report to the legislature in December.

The detailed Boston Globe article on the commission is reprinted here. The wire services have their own versions of the first hearing.

From the coverage, we learn:
  1. Most of the appointed commissioners are anti-same-sex marriage and anti-civil unions.
  2. The audience at the first of the four hearings was overwhelmingly in favor of civil unions or same-sex marriage.
The Democratic governor is in favor of same-sex marriage, but the legislature is a much harder sell. In the state famous for its Live Free or Die motto, it will be fascinating to see how the lawmakers react if the other three hearings are as tolerant and laissez faire as the first in Littleton on Tuesday.

About 100 showed up and stayed for the two and one-half hour meeting. Many spoke in favor, three against, and the Roman Catholic church mailed in its opposition from the Manchester Diocese. One minister was among the anti forces. Local Christ Church Rev. Curt Hanners claimed accepting homosexual unions or marriages would harm families.

Several other ministers disagreed. One pointed to neighboring Vermont's five-year track record of civil unions. Vermont UU Rev. Brendan Hadash said straight marriages are stronger. "Since civil unions were legalized in Vermont, the number of straight weddings I have performed has almost quadrupled.

The commission chair is Rep. Tony Soltani, who has opposed changing the state marriage law and last year spoke in favor of a gay-marriage ban. He seems only mildly mean in contrast t the vice chair, Scott Earnshaw. The latter heads the New Hampshire Traditional Marriage and Family Institute.

With Massachusetts at its feet and Vermont rubbing it back, New Hampshire must sleep fitfully.

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