The New Hampshire commission was established by law a year and a half ago. It was charged to "study all aspects of same sex civil marriage and the legal equivalents thereof, whether referred to as civil unions, domestic partnerships, or otherwise." It has held public hearings around the state since this past April.
While the commissioners were hemming and hawing yesterday in their meeting, Republican Senator James Barnes popped up a motion recommending a constitutional amendment defining marriage in the state as between a man and a woman only. The commission had to vote on it and it passed seven to four with two abstaining and two absent. It was almost a straight party vote, Republicans in favor.
That's the way the parliamentary cookie crumbles. Rules are rules.
Barnes said, "Everybody's dancing around it. I thought I'd bring it to a head."
The move leaves ill feelings, as many commissioners were not ready to conclude discussions and wanted to cover more ground, including same-sex marriage. One spongy comment was from Democrat Raymond Buckley. He said, "To jump right to the support of a constitutional amendment...one certainly thinks that perhaps politics played a large part in this vote."
Ya think so, Ray?
That kind of squishy attitude could certainly account for getting run over.
- If the recommendation becomes a bill, it needs three approvals.
- The House and Senate must pass it by three-fifth majority in each chamber.
- Voters would have to approve it by two-thirds majority.