A lesson in Concord, New Hampshire, is that there will be no accord or concordance if an autocrat (and bigot) heads a public commission.
The very narrow-minded, extremely divisive chair of the commission to study marriages (Tony Soltani, left) got his way. The state will suffer for it.
The charge to the commission was to hold public hearings and consider in light of legal and cultural changes whether marriage and related laws might be due for re-examination and alteration. The clear undertone was whether New Hampshire's lawmakers should think about and talk about the New England neighbors' changes — civil unions in Vermont and Connecticut and same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
The state rep with the wide belly and constricted mind knew the answer going in. His commission would not recommend any consideration for the realities of this century. No quarter for queers, not from Tony.
Don't talk about it. Don't think about it. Forget about it!
His heavy handed majority report may not sway the state, either the public or the legislature. Hundreds testified, only to find their thoughts and feelings ignored in the majority report. Less ham-handed haters in the legislature are likely to be more sensitive to voters and not assume all are anti-gay and anti-SSM.
According to the Concord Monitor, the minority report that the commission was "nearly a complete failure (and) a disgrace" won't forget about it. "House Speaker Douglas Scamman said he hasn't read the report yet, but he hopes further discussion on the same-sex marriage will proceed differently. 'I'm glad that the commission is done,' he said. 'Hopefully the House and the Senate will receive it in a more orderly fashion than some of the meetings went.'"
That wouldn't be hard.
It will certainly be amusing if Soltani's bluster and bigotry ends up with yawns and turned backs. If the other lawmakers believe they are there to do the voter's business, that wil happen. Long-term, it may prove as minority commission member Rep. Steve Valliancourt said, Fifty years from now, when gay marriage has become a fait accompli and everyone realizes that it's something that should have happened a lot sooner, history will look back in shame at what this commission has decided to do."