The New Hampshire House voted on a bill that would end the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the Granite State.
The vote failed, 202 to 133 according to Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) legal group, tweeting from the state house. [Standing Up For New Hampshire Families says 211-116, perhaps last minute cowards switching votes to be on the right side of the legislative record?]
A 74% Republican house
It failed to even pass, let alone reach a veto-sustaining majority it would have needed to get around Gov. John Lynch's desk. The failure to even sustain a majority of House members votes can only be seen as a crushing defeat to religious right's grip on the agenda of the Republican party, which controls 74% of the seats in the NH house. The party should have been easily been able to reach 50% +1.
An attempt to amend the original bill to add civil union recognition failed 82-266. This was actually good news as it left the bill as an especially egregious attack on LGBT families, stripping them of all legal recognition. The overreach of the equality opponents appears to have delivered a fatal blow. An ironic Democratic-sponsored amendment to restrict marriage to right-handed individuals was also defeated.
National conservative groups, like National Organization for Marriage threw their all behind the effort. NOM's President Brian Brown is seen above debating the repeal effort with NH Republican Craig Stowell on Thomas Roberts' MSNBC show. Stowell spoke eloquently on behalf of his gay brother. Brian Brown predicted a majority win and said it would be"historic." It stands to reason his defeat is equally "historic." There is egg all over Brown's face today, as well as local allies Cornerstone NH, and Rep. David Bates. The sponsor of the repeal allies did him no favors when one suggested Muslims would want polygamy legalized to take of over the world. The representative was booed. Incest and bestiality were, of course mentioned.
The floor debate was dominated by Republican voices, many speaking against it, for a variety of reasons. Rep. Ball said, "I'm addressing the bill as a segregation bill. And that's exactly what this is."
This is triumph for anyone who wishes the government would just get out of our bedrooms and leave people alone. Yes, that means men and women who want to control their own reproductive choices as well. Your religious beliefs do not define our country's laws is the declaration coming out of the Granite state.
Apparently a significant number of even Republicans in NH have better things to do than use their power to tear apart loving families for the amusement of the National Organization for Marriage.
The house voted decisively to end this discussion. As we learned from Schoolhouse Rock, after a bill is voted down, it's highly unlikely to become law.
Reports of the hearing and vote can be seen by searching for the Twitter hashtag #NH4M.
See it for yourself, GLAD tweeted this picture of the board:
It's a bigger win than we even thought: actual vote count was 211-116! #NH4M #lgbtMore broken voting buttons? Either way, it's a really huge win. The haters have been stopped in their tracks. Any companion bills will probably never see the floor of the state Senate.
The topic is closed in the Granite state.
Update: National Organization for Marriage responding to the humiliating defeat condemns representative democracy. Apparently a Democratic majority passing marriage equality in 2009, and a Republican majority affirming it in 2012 is not sufficient representative for them.