CONCORD, N.H. (BP)–A bill repealing New Hampshire’s gay “marriage” law passed a House subcommittee by a vote of 3-1 Wednesday, potentially putting the state on track to becoming the first one to repeal such a law via the legislature.
The bill, H.B. 437, would repeal the controversial 2009 law that passed when Democrats controlled the legislature. Republicans won back both chambers in 2010 and have veto-proof majorities.
The bill is favored to pass the state House and Senate, although it is unknown if the GOP can overcome a certain veto by Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat. He signed the 2009 law.
The full legislature won’t vote on the bill until next year, the Union-Leader newspaper reported.
The bill would keep current same-sex “marriages” intact but would prohibit new ones. It also would legalize civil unions for all couples — heterosexual and homosexual. Same-sex civil unions were legal in New Hampshire before the 2009 law passed.
“We think that the amendment passed by the subcommittee … represents a common-sense compromise to what has been a very divisive issue over the last three years,” said Kevin Smith, executive director of Cornerstone Action, a state group that opposes the current law. “We are hopeful that this amended bill will enjoy bi-partisan support and is a solution that both sides can live with.”
New Hampshire is one of five states that recognize gay “marriage.”
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.