After 35 hours of public hearings around the state, the commission studying all aspects of marriage and civil unions met to discuss and conclude. Instead, Republican commissioner Senator James Barnes queered the process. He immediately foreclosed any discussion with a motion. He called for a single recommendation, a one-man/one-woman constitutional amendment.
That follows parliamentary rules. It also short-circuits the half-year democratic process in a state where people care very much about being listened to politically.
The Republican-dominated commission begrudgingly passed the motion. Much unhappiness will continue to follow. You can catch the initial responses in a New Hampshire Public Radio report.
Governor John Lynch is not happy either. He opposes same-sex marriage, but he is apparently much more politically savvy than Barnes. As he phrased it:
There is no need to amend our constitution to do what is already set in law. Our time is better spent focusing on the real challenges facing New Hampshire and working to unite people, not divide them.The vast majority of the legislature had eagerly awaited the chance to speechify and posture about their particular positions on civil unions and same-sex marriage.