New Hampshire Does Gay Marriage Right

June 4th, 2009 at 1:36 pm | 27 Comments |

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So it’s official- Governor Lynch has signed the bill making New Hampshire the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriages. This comes only two years after the state legalized civil unions.

As a former New Hampshire resident, I find myself torn on this news- on the one hand, I am against gay marriage, and Governor Lynch has shown yet again that he has no backbone (he has declared numerous times his opposition to same-sex marriage, and a willingness to veto it). Lastly, according to this blog and a June 3 editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader, the New Hampshire legislature has violated the rules of both chambers to pass the bill. This latter point, especially, is galling to me.

However, my chagrin is balanced by pride in the state and our governor — New Hampshire has attacked this issue as it should be handled — on a state level, through elected representatives (I would prefer a direct vote, but this one works just as legally and ethically). Unlike Iowa and many other states, we legalized gay marriage through our elected representatives and their respective beliefs on both the issue itself and what their constituents would want. Regarding Governor Lynch, he refused to sign the original bill that passed a few weeks ago until VERY specific language was put in protecting religious freedom and independence.

Overall, the people’s representatives have spoken — gay marriage is legal in New Hampshire. We will see if this has the negative effect most conservatives believe it will over the long run, but for now I am pleased that the religious freedoms we hold dear across the country and New Hampshire (“Live Free or Die,” remember) will be protected, as they should be.

Recent Posts by Dustin Siggins



27 Comments so far ↓

  • Tenek

    I wonder if Dustin is still sore over Loving v. Virginia.

  • joemarier

    I wouldn’t prefer a direct vote, because I vigorously oppose direct democracy.

  • esurience

    “Unlike Iowa and many other states, we legalized gay marriage through our elected representatives”Many other states? There are 6 states that have legalized marriage equality currently. MA, CT, IA, VT, ME, and now, NH. Of those, MA, CT, and IA were by court decisions. VT, ME, and now NH were by the legislature. So that’s a 50/50 split between courts and legislatures. I suppose you could add California into there, which had marriage equality briefly from a court order which was then overturned by the voters. But still, saying “many other states” have legalized it via court decisions is not a very accurate portrayal of the current situation.

  • InTheMiddle12

    I’m not exactly sure when and how the concept of suing the government or an entity of something someone views unconstitutional that leads to a change of law became “anti-American.” That is one of the most American actions a citizen can take.This whole nonsense that attempts to diminish the role the Judiciary fills within the United States of America (seems it’s the word United that gets lost) is just that, nonsense.Thank God we have a President who understands there are three branches of government playing an equal part to fulfill the Constitution.

  • sinz54

    InTheMiddle12: I don’t know anyone (except the rabid talk-show hosts) who claims that it’s “anti-American” when a judge rules on anything.What *is* frequently claimed, and what I do sympathize with, is that when a judge makes a ruling on an institution as fundamental and ancient as *civil marriage* over the wishes of the majority of the people, the result is exactly what we’ve seen with Roe v. Wade and the abortion issue: A country split down the middle on a basic issue with the two halves yelling past each other. Critics of gay marriage will have a much harder time yelling about what happened in Iowa or New Hampshire, since the democratically elected representatives of the people voted in a fair vote to create gay marriage. It certainly gives gay marriage more legitimacy in my eyes when it’s voted this way.The Supreme Court got away with Brown v. Board of Education to end legal segregation, because only the segregated South was against the ruling, really.But marriage cuts across every town in America.

  • sinz54

    Tenek: When judges make rulings on social institutions, there’s always a question of how far ahead of the people the judge should place himself.Suppose a judge sided with PETA and announced that henceforth, the killing of any animal will be regarded as manslaughter?Loving v. Virginia, and Brown v. Board of Education, were pretty much accepted by most Americans, because only the segregated South was deeply opposed to intermarriage and integrated schools.But when a judge makes a decision that is opposed by at least half the nation (which would be the case if the Supremes legalized gay marriage nationwide), look out for trouble. The resulting backlash would be ugly.As a conservative, I certainly believe in social progress–but *gradual*, orderly, progress. I believe in always giving the nation time to adjust. I know that impatient folks like you always want “Justice TODAY,” but I believe that social order is worth preserving.

  • mpolito

    NH used legitimite, although dishonest (because, as Dustin writes, Gov. Lynch said he opposed SSM and the legislature broke the rules to move the bill) means. However, legislative means are still better than judicial means, even if the end is one that I oppose.

  • Brutus1776

    Tenek: well I just find your comments slanderous and incomprehensably useless. Calling Dustin a bigot does nothing to further debate.(Malcom)InTheMiddle12: the judiciary plays an important role for sure; however, there is something to be said regarding the duration of a judge’s placement (think Sandlot, For-eb-ver) and the fact that judges are not held accountable. I think that the judicial branch can be dangerous because when they feel the knack for “legislating from the bench”, there is little that can be done by the people, legislator, executive. They skirt dangerously close to aristocracy. I prefer all judges be more Conservative, because they can temper change and create a more prudent “progress.” Progress is not always progress though, simply expounding upon history because you feel a need to “progress” is a historicist view. (Strauss, What is Political Philosophy). JoeMarier: I tend to err on the same side as you, but for the national level. Direct democracy on the national level is wrought with danger (Madison, Jay) while it is better for the people to have more of a say locally and at the state level. We fail when we decide that everything that rises to the state level, must become federal eventually, also in the name of “progress” ;-) Happy Fridays All

  • Tenek

    sinz – When SCOTUS ruled in Loving interracial marriage had the support of about 25% of the population http://www.gallup.com/poll/28417/Most-Americans-Approve-Interracial-Marriages.aspx ) It took another 25 years to gain plurality approval. It isn’t about about how far ahead of the people the judge should be, it’s about how far ahead of the people the law is. Equal rights for everyone is more important than some reactionary bigot getting “time to adjust”. I suppose you would have told MLK to shut up and wait for people to stop hating blacks so much, too.Brutus: I didn’t call him a bigot in the first comment, although I suppose I’ve just done so in this one. You must be psychic. My point was that there is nothing sacred about resolving issues by referendum – if something is unconstitutional then it is the responsibility of judges to strike it down.

  • senor

    I agree pretty much with this post except for two things. Even though the governor’s amendment will not force churches to conduct gay marriage, I fail to see anything in the amendment that will prevent municipal and county governments from punishing them if they don’t. How punish? Well, what if a church wants to rent a public park for a picnic or some other event and the ACLU objects, which they will? Will the governor’s amendment protect the churches in such a case? As you know, municipalities across the nation have refused such services to the Boy Scouts because of their policy. What is to prevent this from happening to churches?My second issue involves the gay activists themselves. If you had asked me four months ago how this ought to be handled, I would have said state by state on a political rather than constitutional argument. That was before the California gay community proved themselves unworthy of participating in the political process by virtue of economic and political intimidation, all of which, apparently had the blessing of California’s elected officials, starting with the governor. To me the single most important thing about political participation is being able to lose. If you cannot lose with a measure of decency, you do not deserve to partake of the process.

  • Tenek

    Yes, senor, because no gay person ever has been subject to any economic or political intimidation. Give me a break. When someone tells you you’re a second-class citizen you are under no obligation to be nice about it.

  • jjv

    I would simply comment on the inapplicablility of Loving v. Virginia. In that case the legislatures had excluded from the definition of marriage arrangements that had traditionally been marriages everywhere at all times. It was only the race code states, sometimes using “scientific” views of Darwinism which had exlcuded different races from marrying. In otherwords in everyone of those states marriage between a man and a woman was recognized by every state until the legislature acted. Famously, Pocahontas married a settler. It was only new thinking about race and the institution of slavery that pressed the legislatures to change law from time immemorial. Just as the same sexers are now having legislatures and judge change such arrangements in contravention of the historic andnatural understanding of the institution. The New Order requires an institution that everywhere and at all times has required two sexes to now require either male male, female female, or for fuddy duddies male female. The first two are not marriage, whatever the legisature may say, they are a new construct that we are using an old word for, In doing so we are corrupting language and weakening that institution. California is a case in point. Civil Unions there allow homosexual couples to do all things married people may do under the law but does not allow them to call that institution “marriage.” It is a form of Jacobinist tyranny to make up a new institution and force others by law and jail to call it “marriage” against history, common sense and biology.If it is to be done I suppose this is the way to do it, but if we are to all agree to cultural suicide by voting it would not cease to be cultural suicide.

  • sinz54

    Tenek: I would have told Martin Luther King that I fully supported what he was doing–which was trying to change white folks’ minds about black folks. In fact, MLK welcomed white folks marching in his demonstrations. And his demonstrations carried the American flag proudly too.MLK always appealed to good will and conscience, not to “We’re getting ours no matter what anyone else thinks.” That attitude came later, with the more militant black organizations like CORE and even the Black Panthers (which were violent).The best thing that gay activists can do is to keep changing straight people’s minds about them, by setting a good example.

  • sinz54

    Tenek sez: “it’s about how far ahead of the people the law is.”How is it that the “law” enshrined gay marriage for 200 years in this country and yet nobody noticed?You’re claiming that the law is ahead of the people? It was the people’s representatives that passed those laws, decades ago. Go search the records of those days and see if you can find the slightest mention that they had gay marriage in mind when they wrote those laws.No, they didn’t. Judges looked at those laws and came up with tortuous interpretations, often ludicrous ones, because they wanted to get to the politically correct result. And rulings like Griswold v. Connecticut were the result.This is one of my standard questions about any judge: Does he care more about the law or the result? That is, if the law appears to require a result he doesn’t like, does he twist the law with some b.s. language, or say “Oh, well, the law is the law”?

  • senor

    Tenek;Sure you are. As someone else has already said, there is a lot of difference between Martin Luther King Jr. and Perez Hilton.. or as your posts have shown, yourself.

  • palomino70

    Sinz, your historical references are cloudy at best. The South may have been the most racially violent and perversely segregationist part of the US; but many whites outside the South were terrified of interracial marriage, integrated schools, etc. Brown was a Topeka, Kansas case after all, not some relic of the deepest most primitive South. And even after Loving, interracial marriage was still far from mainstream acceptance.Indeed support for gay marriage MAY now surpass the contemporaneous support for integration and black/white marriage at the time of Brown and Loving. It sounds textbook nice to say that social progress should be orderly and neat. But sometimes the federal judiciary has to break some eggs to make an omelette.

  • InTheMiddle12

    What a joke to defend awaiting until society is ready for change. For almost 200 years blacks were disenfranchised, even 100 years after a civil war largely caused by slavery, blacks still didn’t have equal rights. And even in the last 30 years there continues to be a struggle around race in this country. To deny that is foolish.And it’s no different with the ‘gay marriage’ issue. And it will take a Supreme Court Case to stop all this nonsense and abuse of gay people’s constitutional rights. ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. Not some, not those you agree with, ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL is what the document reads.Let the courts once again lead the way until the American population comes along. I love America and believe the courts play a critical role in our growing to a more perfect UNION. Can anyone truly imagine Brown would have been voted positively, yes, even outside the south, during the 50′s? Give me a break. I’m 53 and grew up in NY, on Long Island, and through the 80′s in my town there was a real estate agreement to ‘not show to blacks or price them out.’

  • Tenek

    sinz – the “law” provided for the equal protection of all Americans for 100 years before someone noticed – or more to the point, noticed, filed a lawsuit, and got a SCOTUS ruling affirming it. And no, there is no mention of sexual orientation – but there’s no mention of race in, say, the equal protection clause either. Apparently it was written by people who wanted more general protection instead of leaving loopholes around, and it is the job of the judicial branch to interpret the law that did pass, not the one that might have or should have passed. In exchange you get to live in a country significantly different from, say, Iran, where there is no equal protection for anyone.

  • BoolaBoola

    The Government has no business trying to define or validate marriage.Slaves need their masters to define and validate their marriages. Not free people.The Government is not my master. I, and the other parties to, and participants in, my marriage, can say (and write) for ourselves what our marriage means.

  • sinz54

    InTheMiddle12: The black experience confirms what I said.World War II did much to show white America that black Americans could be just as patriotic and just as able to fight for their country. The horrors of the Nazi regime we were fighting, also turned off Americans to that sort of racialism.Brown v. Board of Education would have been an impossible ruling in 1934. But it was almost inevitable in 1954.

  • dragonlady

    palomino70 said: “But sometimes the federal judiciary has to break some eggs to make an omelette.” Do you have any idea who said this and the context? You may want to conclude your point in another way.

  • Sinz said: “Brown v. Board of Education would have been an impossible ruling in 1934. But it was almost inevitable in 1954.”The Equal Protection Clause was the same in 1934 as it was in 1954. The only difference was the perspective and experience of the justices who sat on the court. Yet, on several different threads on this site, you’ve condemned Obama’s and Sotomayor’s comments in which they applaude the ability of a judge to see the facts of a case from the perspective of a litigant.Sotomayor made it perfectly clear that it’s *possible* for a white male to value those facts of a case that might be important to a minority, but it may take more time and effort. If the judge is not willing to put in that time and effort, you get a certain kind of ruling (Plessy v. Ferguson). If, on the other hand, the judge does put in the time and effort, you get Brown v. Bd. of Educ.Gay marriage is no different. A ban on same-sex marriage is clearly prohibited by the 14th Amendment, and the arguments in favor of a ban are no more compelling than the arguments for “separate, but equal.” And, like “separate, but equal,” bans on same-sex marriage will also be ruled unconstitutional.And this will be just another in a very long list of issues in which conservatives were, yet again, on the wrong side.

  • karengrube

    What the Governor and Legislature of New Hampshire did was completely beneath contempt! Reprehensible! How DARE they silence the voters on an issue like this? How DARE they let the Human Rights Campaign buy a vote like that? I am absolutely livid that the legislature totally misrepresented the voters they supposedly represented and forced gay marriage on a state that clearly DID NOT want it! That’s outrageous! I have never used the term ‘governor’ as an expletive before, but I will from now on whenever I refer to Governor Lynch.The good news is that there are plans in the works to allow the people of New Hampshire to have their say on this issue in non-binding resolution votes early next year. At least they’ll be able to tell the legislature and the governor how wrong they were. The even better news is that people are so outraged at the conduct of the Democratic members of the legislature and a few Republicans that this will definitely change the leadership of their legislature next election. At that point, the legislature will be able to repeal this idiotic law, and my very strong guess is that the people will elect a legislature that will do just that. In the next few months, the people of Maine will have the opportunity repeal the gay marriage law that was forced on them with their people’s veto.I won’t even discuss how absurd it is to talk about this issue in terms of equal protections and so-called civil rights. No one buys it that this is really a civil rights issue, and to call it that totally denegrates the very real Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and earlier that sought to redress centuries of vile treatment and suppression of Black Americans. I have never in my live hear of a gay person being denied the right to vote, or being beaten or had fire hoses turned on them because the wanted to vote, or being told to go to the back of the bus, and I have never seen a bathroom or drinking fountain that said “gays only.” And I have never, ever, heard of a cross being burned in someone’s front yard because they were gay. Besides that, how dare anyone make that comparison when Blacks are still living in poverty in greater percentages than White Americans. Their struggle for true Civil Rights isn’t over yet! So don’t even try to call this push for the acceptance of the gay lifestyle a civil rights issue. Even the venerable American Psychological Association has backed off its search for a ‘gay gene’ and now call homosexuality a complex combination of genetics and external influences. Well, la dee dah! What in life isn’t? I am so sick of the acceptance of this lifestyle choice being forced on us by the media and gay rights activists despite the damage that is absolutely intended by this push to religious freedom and traditional values.

  • karengrube

    Continuing my comments . . .My point is that this should be the people’s choice, and the ability to make that choice was stolen from them in New Hampshire. Wherever the people of any state have been asked to vote on this issue, they have said “NO” to gay marriage. That’s 30 states with constitutional amendments defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, and 15 with statutes prohibiting gay marriage. There’s a reason for that. The only way the HRC and the Gill Foundation have been able to get gay marriage passed in any state is by funding the election of a gay-friendly legislature and pay for very expensive, very impressive litigation in State Supreme Courts. And they specifically target states that don’t have an initiative process or people’s referendum because they know that’s the only way they’ll ever get gay marriage approved in any state. But they blew it in Maine. The people there are going to repeal what was forced on them, like we did in California.The upshot is this: I strongly believe in the collective wisdom of the people of a state to decide its direction. I also strongly believe the form of representative democracy seen in many states lately has been co-opted by a few very wealthy gay activists – the so-called Gay Mafia – to the extent that the wishes of the people are just being not only ignored, but intentionally gound underfoot and denegrated, so that everyone is being called a bigot or a hater who doesn’t go along with the gay agenda. I find that totally reprehensible.I’m sorry to be going on like this, but for the people to be so shamefully silenced by their own legislature and seeing them lied to by their Governor on such an important question as the definition of marriage angers me. If the people of any state had ever voted to allow gay marriage, that would be a totally different situation. But it is so clear that this is something most of the people of this country think is wrong for their state, that it’s appalling to see their wishes and collective wisdom discounted and disrespected so completely. I think the definition of marriage is precisely the kind of issue the people of a state should be able to decide for themselves, and not have forced on them by their too-easily-influenced partisan legislature and state courts.

  • sinz54

    Spartacus: No, I haven’t condemned Sotomayor’s willingness to consider the arguments of minorities. What disturbs me, is her claim (repeated several times over the years) that a female Hispanic judge can better understand the claims of female Hispanic petitioners than a white male judge can. That she understands the claims of Hispanic petitioners, not because she is liberal or because she’s progressive or because she studied the problems of minorities, but because she’s “one of them” herself. It’s a racialist claim, and a deeply un-American one.If that were true, then the Supreme Court would have ruled Brown v. Board of Education in favor of the Board (i.e., in favor of continuing segregation)–since the Court was 8 to 1 white (only Marshall was black).Justice and the law shouldn’t have to depend on seeking out “those of your own kind” to grant you favors. We have enough of that in politics. But the Supreme Court isn’t supposed to be a *political* body. Its job is to make rulings consistent with the Constitution, period.

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