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N.H. Governor Reaffirms Pledge to Veto Marriage Equality Repeal Bill

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Tuesday Jan 31, 2012
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New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch on Tuesday once again vowed to veto a bill that would repeal the state’s marriage equality law.

"New Hampshire has a long and proud tradition of fighting for the rights of all of our people and a tradition of leaving people alone to pursue of happiness," he said in his last State of the State address, delivered in Concord. "As governor, I intend to uphold that centuries-old tradition. And I will stand firm against any legislation that would strip any of our citizens of their civil rights."

Activists quickly welcomed the governor’s comments.

"Governor Lynch has always been a defender of liberty and freedom," said Lew Felstein, co-chair of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families. "We applaud and appreciate his renewed commitment to veto any bill that would treat some New Hampshire families different than other families. It’s not the New Hampshire way."

Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, said Lynch’s comments reflect the libertarian values for which he said the Granite State is known.

"Governor Lynch is once again showing his leadership and commitment to the core New Hampshire value--and state motto--’live free or die,’" he told EDGE.

It appears likely that lawmakers could potentially vote on House Bill 437 later this month, but a University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll in October shows that 62 percent of state residents support the marriage equality law that took effect in Jan. 2010.

Standing Up for New Hampshire Families and other LGBT rights groups unveiled a television ad with Claremont resident Craig Stowell and his gay brother Calvin earlier this month. A second spot that features Stowell and his wife and Maxine Morse, a long-time Republican activist from Portsmouth debuted on WMUR in late December.

Former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman also spoke out against HB 437 in an op-ed that the New Hampshire Union Leader published last Thursday.

"In New Hampshire, couples across the state have been helped by being able to share in the responsibilities and protections of marriage while no one has been harmed," said Solomon. "Stripping these loving, committed couples of the freedom to marry would not only hurt them and their families, but it would hurt all citizens of the Granite State by taking an enormous step backwards while slashing away at their core values."

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.

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