At the capital in Concord yesterday, those opposed to enshrining discrimination in the New Hampshire constitution far out numbered those who want a DoMA amendment.
At the hearing, speakers were about three to one against CACR 34. This amendment effort followed a laughable set of hearings after which the Republican majority of that commission urged such an amendment.
Background Blog: Who's for, who's against, and who needs to vote how to defeat this is at Democracy for New Hampshire. This blog even lists the 12 Republican members of the current hearing committee, four of whom would have to vote with the good guys to defeat the amendment effort.
Wide opposition to the amendment seems to come from two camps. The liberal/equal rights faction has strong support from the governor and citizens who simply don't want a discriminatory restriction formalized into what is otherwise a document of liberties and rights. Many who do not approve of same-sex marriage are opposed to this overkill method.
About 300 attended the hearing, quite large by local standards.
The local Catholic church and some fundies have issued statements of support for the amendment. Spokeswoman for the Manchester diocese, Liz Feren, said, "We should do everything we can to strengthen marriage as it has existed throughout history."
Such historical revisionism and amalgamation of civil law and religion aside, here too it comes back to wanting to enforce the personal on the public. As Rev. Carolyn Clarke put it, "God gave us rules. As people living together, we have to live by those rules." That is, her version of rules, but for everyone, while she channels God and reduced the deity to a state legislator.
Typifying the more rational side, Rep. Steve Vaillancourt ridiculed selectivity religiosity, "pointing out that the Bible opposes divorce and encourages multiple wives." Any such common sense doesn't cut it with the amendment sponsor, Republican Rep. Michael Balboni. "Our culture is under assault as some conduct a social experiment that will destroy the institution we love so well," he bleated.
An academic with a little more distance, Franklin Pierce College law professor Marcus Hurn noted that the clumsy wording of the amendment would also preclude the legislature from approving civil unions without again revising the constitution. “Somehow, I think this thing was crafted with a crayon,” he said.