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MassResistance in New Hampshire "gay marriage" fight as Legislature holds public hearing but delays bill

"Moderate" Republicans cave in, abandon base that elected them

POSTED: March 4, 2011

Last year the New Hampshire Legislature shocked the citizens by suddenly passing a law legalizing "gay marriage", which was quickly signed by the governor. It took everyone by surprise, including the pro-family movement.

As MassResistance reported, it was a result of huge payoffs to New Hampshire Democrat politicians and an intense behind-the-scenes lobbying effort by the homosexual activists. At that time Democrats controlled both branches of the Legislature, plus the governorship.

But on Nov. 2, the voters of New Hampshire reacted by throwing out the liberals, largely on the basis of this issue (and with lots of pro-family support). They nearly doubled the number of Republicans in the state senate and added 122 Republicans to their total in the House. Although the Governor survived the election, both branches of the Legislature are now Republican.

Law filed this year to repeal "gay marriage",
but GOP backs down

So when the 2011 session began, Rep. David Bates (R-Windham), a great pro-family advocate, filed HB 437 to repeal the law. New Hampshire citizens were energized and ready to undo this outrage. A public hearing on the bill was set for Feb. 17.

But the euphoria didn't last long. Within weeks the Republicans were backing down. On January 23 the Nashua Telegraph reported that Republican House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) had decided to hold the public hearing, but to table any action on the bill for at least a year while they focused on less "controversial" priorities such as energy and the state budget. He said that overturning the gay marriage law "is not part of the Republican agenda" this year.

Pro-family activists were outraged. Strategically, a long delay gives "gay marriage" supporters a big advantage. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sent a strongly worded letter to everyone in Bettencourt's district. But he wouldn't budge.

Gay activists swarm Feb. 17 public hearing

At the Feb. 17 hearing the homosexual lobby, energized by the move, came out in force. Over 650 people came to the New Hampshire State House that day, the vast majority of them were clearly "gay marriage" supporters. Many of them wore red shirts to in solidarity with each other.


At New Hampshire "gay marriage" repeal hearing
- a sea of homosexual activists wearing red. [Mass-Resistance photo]

The pro-family side was out-gunned and apparently intimidated by the swarm of homosexual activists.  But a few on our side were willing to stand up and voice their outrage. Ted Maravelias, a MassResistance volunteer in New Hampshire who lives in Rep. Bettencourt's district was there.

Ted's reaction of the situation:

The meeting inside was freaky with hundreds of gay rights activists in red. Mostly young students it seemed to me but they vastly outnumbered pro-family citizens who were, for the most part, conspicuously absent. There seemed to be just a trace of brave residents who took a stand and none, as far as I can tell, none who were willing to criticize Bettencourt for his decision to suppress (he calls it "retain") the bill to overturn gay marriage until next year. This decision was shameful and disappointing and represented a complete sell-out of the pro-family movement and I said as much more or less on the floor of the House.

This sell-out is particulary odious because a major pro-family group was there in support of the bill but was most unwilling to confront Bettencourt. Unless we are able to stand up without hesitation or reservation to Republicans who betray us, then they will continue to sell us out whereas they will have no fear of political retribution from our side.

Ted was also quoted in the following day's Manchester Union Leader, saying:

"I oppose this anti-Christian bigotry that has been prevalent in this state for the past two years. Now is the time to take a stand."

The Union Leader article also reported in that article about this testimony:

[S]everal speakers urged lawmakers to look at what happened in Massachusetts and Canada, where gay marriage has been legal the longest. Sen. Fenton Groen, R-Rochester, said gay marriage "has encouraged children to practice a lifestyle -- legitimized it in marriage -- that will significantly increase the risk of sexually transmitted disease."

Read the entire Union Leader article here

This sign seen outside of the State House says it all.

Committee finally caves in to "moderate" Republicans

This week, after the hearing, New Hampshire's House Judiciary Committee voted 15-0 to to delay the bill for at least a year. Even the "good" conservatives on the Committee caved in to the moderate Republican leadership. 

In many peoples' opinion, this effectively defeates the effort to repeal "gay marriage" in New Hampshire.  It gives the homosexual movement an entire year to lobby, raise money, and sustain a public PR campaign. There will be another year of "gay marriages" taking place and working to establish themselves as a "norm" in society. And our side will lose momentum and wear down during the wait. 

The sense is that the Republican leadership was never very serious about this, and certainly will be less so next year. The public's anger about the "gay marriage" issue was a great vehicle and to help leverage themselves into power, but now they're moving on. Let's hope that the people remember this in two years.