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House, 234-95, sends sexual orientation amendment to study
Proposed Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution 17 sailed through the Senate on a 23-0 vote, but ran into opposition from unexpected places at a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that voted 16-4 last week to send the bill to interim study, a polite death in the second year of a term.
During a public hearing earlier this month, some testified sexual orientation needs to be more clearly defined and more thoroughly studied before letting voters decide in the next general election.
Without the constitutional amendment, said the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover, at the public hearing, lawmakers could roll back hard–earned protections for the gay community.
“This is just one more attempt to slice and dice our society into groups,” O’Brien said. “It’s cynical and harmful to society and elevates group rights over individual rights.”
The constitution currently reads “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.” The proposed amendment would add “sexual orientation” to the list.
If a proposed constitutional amendment passes the three-fifths threshold, it appears on the general election ballot in November, where it will require a two-thirds majority of the voters to be added to the constitution.
The bill, which passed on a 217-119 vote, also allows couples living in states without legal gay marriage to have the ceremony performed in New Hampshire and have their marriage recognized.
The bill goes to the governor.
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