Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NH Equality Possibilities

Tomorrow at 9 a.m., the New Hampshire Senate convenes its hearing on same-sex marriage. For various reasons, the outcome this session is much less clear than it was in neighboring Vermont.

Consider:
  • The House passed this bill (HB436) by only a few votes 186 to 179 on March 27.
  • It passed it only after reconsidering it following a one-vote loss.
  • The Senate is not as strong on marriage equality as Vermont's is.
  • Gov. John Lynch signed the civil-unions law two years ago, but hesitates here.
Lynch has seen both benign and salutary effects of SSM in nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut. He is also away of Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas' public vilification during and after his incredibly clumsy veto bluster and action.

Likely Lynch's wisest course would be to say what he apparently believes — civil unions are good enough and marriage has long been one man/one woman — and then let the bill become law by his inaction. Surely if he makes the legislature come back with this again in the next session, it will be in a much stronger majority and he'll in the reactionary camp. I'm betting he has a safe, high-status job he wants to keep.

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