Mo Baxley: A NH Hero

A lot will be said and written over the resounding victory for marriage equality in New Hampshire. Many will get credit, many will take credit but from my point of view the hero of this historic win is Mo Baxley.

Mo Baxley’s steady leadership, experienced perspective and strength of character made marriage equality become law today.

I met Mo twenty four years ago when a group of us gathered at Franklin Pierce Law Center to found the Citizens Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Rights.

Mo Baxley has been a major player in every one of our victories over the years. Those successes built the foundation for today’s victory.

For the past five or so years she has served as the Executive Director of NH Freedom to Marry ( Last term Mo served in the NH House. Her work over the years has included many progressive and labor causes.

Her quiet, thoughtful approach doesn’t make headlines or demand attention but it gets results. While others often appeared to be doing their best to sabotage the legislation, Mo was building trust and relationships, bringing folks together always keeping her eye on victory.

Mo’s extraordinary hard work paid off today.

While many involved were helpful no one was as instrumental to today’s win than Mo Baxley.

Please join me in saying thanks to Mo at

5 Responses to Mo Baxley: A NH Hero

  1. historybuff21 June 4, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    Today was the culmination of a 5 month process. It was amazing to see the amount of supporters who were in the gallery of the house and the people who rallied in hundreds outside the statehouse before the votes. I can seriously say that because of Mo and all the work she did/organized, I now have the same rights as every heterosexual citizen of this state. Mo deserves every bit of credit. Todays victory was the icing on the cake for the people who worked so hard to get this done, and Mo would certainly be on the top of that list.

  2. elwood June 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    that some of elected leaders did “seem to be doing their best to sabotage it,” let’s put that behind us.

  3. Rep. Jim Splaine June 4, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    Mo has been fantastic, incredible on the causes of equality for years.  This year, after she became involved in pushing House Bill 436 at the first public hearing on February 5th in the House Judiciary Committee, she organized hundreds of people to write to House and Senate members, generated vast numbers of phone calls and letters to the Governor and the Legislature, and kept the issue on track in the media — no easy task when it comes to messaging.  

    She has the excellent ability to look a reporter in the eye and say it all in a short, pithy, effective phrase or two, right up to her interview on Channel 9 WMUR after the Governor signed marriage equality when with a smile she said, “We’re equal.  Equal isn’t nothing; equal is everything.”  

    She attended most of the weekly strategy meetings we called at the State House during the past several months to lay out plans for our approach as she coordinated her efforts with our Legislative strategy.  AND her talent at finding a way to get Legislators to “yes” really is near-legendary.

    I’d avoid designating anyone on an effort like this as the MVP. She’d probably be the first to say it was an inclusive effort by many.  When an issue is so close in getting approval every step of the way, in this case a vote or two separating victory or defeat in the House and Senate and in committees votes, there are lots of “heroes” and “key people.”  Perhaps the biggest heroes are those who actually “came out” at the hearings on this issue, and the 675 couples who have signed up for Civil Unions during the past 17 months, and said “but this isn’t enough.  There really were thousands of heroes and MVPs through the years, months, weeks, and even days past — each person stepping forward in the fight for the cause adding strength to the cause.  

    Nevertheless, certainly Mo was one of the core of the many who made it possible to adopt marriage equality this year, and I can’t say enough of her praises.  That effort started years, even decades ago, moved ahead by some people whose names we might not remember today.  It came together in recent months primarily because the timing was right, the momentum of marriage equality was with us because of factors in other states, and  people like Mo were ready at this right time to make this work.  

    That qualifies Mo Baxley as one of my heroes — along with, I’ll add quickly but will elaborate on later — Ray Buckley, Kathy Sullivan, Rick Trombly, Chris Spirou, Burt Cohen, Bill Siroty, Arnie Arnesen, David Pierce, Bette Lasky, Deb Reynolds, Martha Fuller Clark, Dave Cote, Terie Norelli, Nick Panagopolous, Dana Hilliard, Gail Morrison, and the list will go on.    

  4. JonnyBBad June 5, 2009 at 7:43 am #

    at tonight’s vigil for murdered women’s health pioneer Dr. Tiller… I was able to tell her about my new Cause…

    Please Stop Smoking Because We Love You Mo Baxley

  5. Ray Buckley June 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    1:30 – Ray Buckley, gay (yes, openly gay) Chair of the NH Democratic Party, and Mo Baxley, Director of the NH Freedom to Marry Coalition, tell me to sit down in my seat; why? because a young man who looks all of 18, but might be 21, is standing by the entrance to the House gallery, with a holstered gun and holstered Bowie knife attached to his belt. Yes, the NH Statehouse is the only state capital in America which has not outlawed firearms — it is perfectly legal in NH to watch an explosive and contentious debate in the legislature, from the gallery, while packing heat! They are worried for my safety. Once when I leave to go to the bathroom, Mo (a tiny, petite little lesbian with more guts than any man I’ve ever met, and who has masterminded this entire campaign with strong leadership, brilliant strategic organizing, and an iron will that won’t quit) precedes me as I exit, to plant herself in front of this armed young man, literally standing between him and me and blocking any possibility of him having at me. I am nearly moved to tears.

    Bishop Robinson’s entire diary of Wednesday:

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