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March 21. 2012 5:24PM

Same-sex marriage stays in New Hampshire

CONCORD - After two hours of debate and 10 votes, the House Wednesday decided to keep the state's gay marriage law in place.

After voting down several amendments and a motion to table the bill, the House members finally decided to kill House Bill 437 on a 211-116 vote.

Some members objected to a proposed non-binding referendum on the issue, and others said the bill would take away rights the state has already granted.

“These folks are just people just like you are, they want the same things you do,” said Rep. Michael Ball, R-Manchester. “This bill needs to be put down. Put this dog down like it deserves to be.”

But supporters said the bill would simply return the state to the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Roll call vote for HB 437

“Who is next in line? The animal lovers can't be too far behind. Once you open the word to redefinition, it's open to redefinition,” said Rep. Warren Groen, R-Rochester. “We are indeed on a slippery slope and we are indeed at the edge of the cliff.”

Gov. John Lynch had vowed to veto the bill if it reached his desk.

Lawmakers approved civil unions in 2007 and then in 2009 approved gay marriage, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Since that time, 1,906 same-sex couples have wed under the law.

Currently New Hampshire is one of eight states that allow gay marriage.


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