After a contentious debate that took two hours and 10 votes, gay marriage rights were upheld in New Hampshire on March 21. But opponents of marriage equality have promised to continue to challenge and eventually overturn the law.
The bill to repeal same-sex marriage in New Hampshire, which has been legal since 2010, failed in the Republican-led legislature with a 211-116 vote, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. Only one Democrat voted in favor of the repeal (compared to 115 Republicans—we know, shocking).
Arguing against the repeal during debate, Republican Michael Ball said gays “are just people just like you are, they want the same things you do. This bill needs to be put down.”
On the other end of the spectrum, arguing in favor of the repeal, Republican Warren Groen issued the bone-headed statement of the night when he asked, “Who is next in line? The animal lovers can’t be too far behind. Once you open the word [marriage] to redefinition, it’s open to redefinition. We are indeed on a slippery slope, and we are indeed at the edge of the cliff.” (Personally, we can’t wait for your sex scandal to, uh, come out of the closet, Mr. Groen. Pun intended.)
New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, has vowed to veto any future bill that repeals same-sex marriage, should it reach his desk. But marriage equality foes haven’t given up. According to Newser.com, repeal proponents will “try again if a Republican is elected governor.”
The development in New Hampshire follows an earlier move by the Maryland legislature to legalize same-sex marriage. On February 23, the state Senate voted 25-22 to send the marriage equality bill to Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Baltimore Democrat, who co-sponsored it and signed it into law as expected. The Free State aptly becomes the eighth to legalize marriage equality (and the second this year, following Washington State).
Maryland law allows voter referendums on approved legislation, however, and marriage equality activists fully expect opponents to place the initiative on November’s ballot, the Baltimore Sun reports. The law won’t take effect until the referendum process is complete. If voters approve of the law, same-sex couples can begin marrying on January 1 of next year.