Monday, February 06, 2006

NH: Live Restricted

Come tomorrow, New Hampshire may be in the market for a new state slogan. It could join Texas and likely soon Virginia in trying to change a state constitution of liberty into something else entirely.

What is the opposite of Live Free or Die? Live Narrow is one possibility. Don't Even Think About It! may be more to the point. Even Sit Down and Listen Up! could do it too.

On Tuesday at 10 a.m. a hearing opens on whether to enshire restrictions and discrimination into the constitution. It would pig pile a DoMA one-man/one-woman definition in the constitution, Constitutional Amendment/Concurrent Resolution 34. This is a state that already had a law forbidding same-sex marriages. Then in 2004, it passed Senate Bill 427 (the oh-no-Massachusetts law) that prohibits recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. That, of course, at this point, means only neighboring Massachusetts ones.

The current push and resulting hearing are an outgrowth of another live-restricted-and-shut-up political ploy. Last year's hearings on marriage resulted in a Republican travesty that insulted the voters, the public process and all those who testified, as well as liberty-loving legislators.

Now the effort is to do what over a dozen states have, restrict not only current citizens from asking for these new rights, but to add the discrimination to the constitution. This will make it harder and more divisive for future generations to expand the state's liberties.

It is too ironic for a state that aspires to live free or die.

Of course, this is not so different from the current arch-conservatives in the Federal government. Limiting the rights of all Americans to enforce personal morality is clearly not what this country has been about from colonial times. When the Gen-X and Gen-Y citizens come into power, they surely shall despise such a legacy that the Korean War and Boomer generations are trying to leave them.

NH Legislators with longer views intend to work together to defeat CACR 34. State Rep. Jim Splaine said, "What we certainly don't need is something written into our state constitution that, for the first time, would provide for discrimination against human beings. Our constitution is something that should continue to stand in our future for the protection of the rights and liberties of all of us who call New Hampshire home."

Likewise, Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, who co-authored the minority report on the marriage commission. He said, "Fifty years from now, when gay marriage has become a fait accompli, and everybody realizes it'’s something that should'’ve happened a lot sooner, history will look back in shame with what this commission has decided to do."

Rep. Fran Potter also opposes the amendment, but noted that some of her constituents are likely against same-sex marriage. "(Y)et they are very reluctant to put that in Constitutiontion. That may be a real stumbling block for many legislators, both new and old – –appropriately so."

She is a retired Episcopal minister. Her view is that such "transitory" public views should not make their way into the state constitution.

The legislature would have to approve it in both houses by three-fifths. Then two-thirds of the voters at an election would have to approve it.

If all of that were to happen, the true nature of current N.H. residents would be shamefully apparent.


Anonymous said...

That's what is wrong with NH. "Live Free or Die" only relates to freedoms ok'd by the Republican Party.

Black Sheep said...

Maybe I have too much faith in my fellow New Hampshirites, but I actually think this is going to fail. What most people misunderstand about New Hampshire is while we do have a conservative tradition, it is a libertarian-conservative, not a Christian conservative tradition.

In my experience, NH folks don't really care about your personal life, just don't raise their taxes. Numerous polls done by UNH show that a majority of NH citizens support same sex marriage.

However, I'm not surprised that the NH legislature is going through with this. The NH legislature has got to be one of the most stupid governing bodies in the world. The NH House and Senate proves that any jackass with a few campaign signs and enough like-minded friends to sign a petition to get their name on the ballot can run for office.