CommunityPam's House Blend

Dem New Hampshire governor opposes marriage equality

In a state where there is pretty strong support for opening marriage to gays and lesbians, Democratic Governor John Lynch is already making it clear that he’s got a problem with granting full marriage rights, but he won’t say why.

Gay marriage supporters made a strong showing Wednesday, but the outcome is far from certain.

Supporters far outnumbered opponents at a hearing on same sex marriage. Same sex couples, parents of gay and lesbian children and the State Employees Association were among those asking the House Judiciary to endorse the marriage bill; 142 people signed sheets supporting gay marriage and 27 were against.

Even the sponsor of a competing civil unions bill threw his support behind Democratic Rep. Mo Baxley’s bill for marriage equality, asking legislators to choose her proposal over his.

But it is a long way before New Hampshire can add its name to the short list of states giving gays legal unions. The marriage bill must survive a subcommittee review and votes in the House and Senate, and faces an uncertain future with Gov. John Lynch, who opposes gay marriage but supports providing health care benefits to state workers’ same sex partners.

Lynch avoided a question Wednesday from a reporter who asked why he opposes gay marriage.

Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said the governor has been talking with legislators about the issue, but gave no specifics. “The governor opposes gay marriage; however, he does believe the rights of all New Hampshire families should be protected. He believes the state needs to do a better job of doing that,” Manning said. “It’s very early in the process.”

WTF does that mean — tossing New Hampshire gays a bone of state health benefits is all he thinks they deserve, maybe toss in some privileges here and there? It’s yet another example of a Dem not explaining their rationale for discriminating against taxpaying citizens. Should we be glad he didn’t use his “upbringing” to justify his position?

But look at this…

This is a rare year in the N.H. Legislature – for the first time bills expanding gay rights outnumber those seeking to limit them. Lawmakers are considering bills for civil unions, spousal unions, marriage, same-sex couple adoption and health benefits for state employees. In the Senate, Republican Bob Clegg has introduced a bill giving gays – and other adults who don’t choose to marry – the same legal rights as married couples.

The political world is so topsy turvy. How can advocacy orgs feel comfortable investing resources in one party when it’s clear that an unfortunate number of Dems are perfectly capable of working against equality and hindering progress even when they have political cover and control.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding