Preserving Marriage Equality In New Hampshire: We Can Do This

It’s about 12:30 AM, the morning after Election Day, and I feel rather, well — not great.  At this point, the vote in Maine on Question 1 is, at best, too-close-to-call, although we can hope for the best.

Either way, it ended up being close, and the cause has to continue.  We know there are those forces trying to continue discrimination.  But love is greater than hate, and I know eventually equality will prevail — in Maine, here, and everywhere.  

Nevertheless, the reality is that the next effort to turn back the clock will be right here in New Hampshire come this January.  Legislation has been entered to repeal House Bill 436 and marriage equality.  The 2010 Legislative Session begins in just 8 weeks, and that means we have work to do now.

We won last Spring by keeping in mind that whatever vote we had “yesterday,” whether it was a victory or a setback, wasn’t as important as the next vote we had to take on the issue.  We kept looking forward, expanding our supporters, and eventually we won.

I’m confident we will hold onto our supporters in the House and Senate, and that Governor John Lynch will remain steadfast in his strong support for equality.  But it would be good to “max out” on our support in the Legislature in a few months.

Whatever the final result in Maine, and no matter how close, WE CAN DO THIS.  We can have marriage equality, and hold it here.  But it will take continued work.  We have to remain optimistic, and continue looking forward.  

And BlueHampshire.com Bloggers will be needed as much as ever to help get the word out.  Last Spring, they made the difference.  They can again.  We need everyone.  

For all our friends in Maine who put their hearts and souls in the fight, our thoughts should be with them, and our congratulations for their efforts.  I’m hoping when I wake up I’ll see a wonderful headline.  Either way, the adventure continues…    

  • Putney Swope

    Thanks, Jim for the encouragement – I feel like total dreck this morning because of the Maine vote. I needed this encouragement.

    I’ll be interested in the post vote analysis. The pro-marriage groups seemed to be doing almost everything right.

    Let us know what we need to do. In the meantime I will try to keep us updated with diaries of news and analysis about our battles ahead and what is happening in the rest of the country.

  • Ray Buckley

    Show marriage equality in NH 8 pts ahead, there is zero evidence this will be a factor here in 2010.

    • Rep. Jim Splaine

      …that on the political side, you’re going to be able to successfully build a stone wall.  We have lots to do on the Legislative side so we can add to the momentum we established last Spring.  We can do this.  

  • The Grand Panjandrum

    Not one more penny to the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC until they get on board with marriage equality and they strip Joe Lieberman of his chairmanship and pass meaningful health care reform. Not one more penny. I will give to individual candidates who I believe will serve the interests of my family and those of my neighbors. I have had it with the national leadership.

    Does the NHDP have an official position on marriage equality? Do they monetarily support people who do not support marriage equality? If they do support candidates who are opposed to marriage equality then I would not give to the NHDP either.

    No justice, no money from me. Period.

    I am going to review the position of all my local and state reps. I will then be contacting them to let them know my position. Right now I am in the fortunate position of living in an area where they all supported marriage equality.

    Would it be possible for someone to make a list of helpful action inviduals can take to support marriage equality. I will donate money to candidates and I pledge 100 hours of vounteering to help the cause. My friends, colleagues and neighbors are that important to me.  Let me know where I can best focus those hours to ensure that marriage equality remains the law in NH.

    • Ray Buckley

      Support the following:

      Governor John Lynch

      The Lynch Committee 228-6000

      Senators Sylvia Larsen, Senator Maggie Hassan, Senator Martha Fuller Clark, Senator Kathy Sgambati, Senator Deb Reynolds, Senator Matt Houde, Senator Jackie Cilley, Senator Harold Janeway, Senator Molly Kelly, Senator Peggy Gilmore, Senator Bette Lasky, Senator Betsi DeVries, Senator Mandy Merrill.

      Senate Democratic Caucus 225-6899

      House Speaker Terie Norelli, Deputy Speaker Linda Foster, Majority Leader Mary Jane Wallner, Floor Leader Dan Eaton, Asst Leaders Bernie Benn, Jim Craig, Frank Davis, Gary Richardson, Asst Floor Ldrs Gus Lerandeau, Melanie Levasque, Scott Merrick, Mike O’Brien, Beth Rodd and Deanna Rollo and the nearly 200 other House Democrats.

      Committee to Elect House Democrats 225-6899

      And no, the NH Democratic Party does not donate directly to candidates.

      • The Grand Panjandrum

        I’ve cut and pasted this information. Appreciate it very much.

      • Rep. Jim Splaine

        All of the above, and we should vote for them with our thanks for their courage and leadership, and onto 2011.  In the meantime, we have lots to do.  

  • hannah

    forward towards.
    That equality is not universally appreciated needs to be recognized–as well as the probability that the reason it’s not appreciated has to do with people’s perception that their own insecurities can only be addressed by feeling superior to someone else.

    Why do so many people feel insecure?  Well, some people have gone through a lot of effort to achieve that and, sad to say, some of our religious institutions are to blame.

    I’ve heard from a couple of people that some Catholic bishop was behind the effort to reassert segregation.  Since marriage is a voluntary assumption of additional obligations for the welfare of another person, it seems fair to suggest that giving authority to priests on condition that they not marry is rather consistent with a preference for power without obligation, even sexual gratification without obligation, as was evident in the tacit support for priests’ abusive behavior towards children.

  • user523

    People just don’t care about social issues when voting for legislative candidates, even if the issue of marriage equality isn’t particularly popular.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean the NH GOP won’t try and use it as an electoral wedge issue. Pam Spaulding from Pam’s House blend says she received the following e-mail:

    I had breakfast next to 4 legislators who are part of the Republican leadership in NH. They were discussing the election.  Their internal polling had nailed the results of the Maine election; 53% yes to 47% no.

    They told me their polling shows 30 to 40% of the voters do not like homosexuals to various degrees (the Homophobes) and will march through a blizzard to vote against anything gay and feel any pro gay vote directly affects them.  A greater number favor gay rights, 45 – 50%.  The only difference is the gay rights supporters feel they are not directly affected by the issue and are not driven as strongly.  Roughly 4 to 5 percent of the population is gay and is strongly for gay rights and is directly affected by the vote. The strongest support of gay marriage is from the well educated and the least support from the less educated mostly in the rural areas.  They also said the Maine voters are tired of the gay issue and that it may be years before it ever has a chance in Maine again.

    They told me it’s much easier to wage a negative campaign than a positive campaign because you’re not restricted by the truth and can state anything at anytime to play to people’s fears. All they have to do is strike a fear in 5 to 10% of the voters to win.

    Although the Republican’s did not directly get involved in the Maine vote they were watching closely. They told me that NH is almost a perfect copy of the Maine electorate.  They plan to use the anti gay 30 -40% in NH to win back the legislature and the Governor’s office.  They claim it will be easier in NH because they only have to target a few weak Democratic candidates to get the legislature back.  Their problem is the Governor,  but with the economy combined with the tea bag mentality they think he will be vulnerable. And even if he wins he is not a strong supporter of gay rights and may not veto any bill to kill gay marriage.

    I dread this happening.  The only hope I see is that gays will be getting married here by the time the election rolls around and it might sway a few voters. A lot of this I blame on Washington. I have the urge to go to Washington and personally kick Obama in the ass to get him moving.

  • Nicholas Gunn

    Given that maine is one of the oldest states per capita, and this is more a generational issue than a partisan one, this result is more indicative of age than maine’s social conservatism.

  • TimothyHorrigan

    This sounds like an elitist comment coming from an elected official, but one of the big problems with referendums is that it places decisions in the hands of a group of people (i.e., whoever shows up at the polls) who don’t know the details of the issues and who aren’t directly responsible for the consequences of their vote.  

    Just about every issue has nuances and just about every issue effects certain groups (call them “special interests” if you will) more than the general public.  In the case of marriage equality, it effects gay people much more than straight people, for the basic reason who (if anyone) you yourself marry is vastly more important to your life than who your neighbor marries.  It may sound undemocratic for a legislature to give more weight to gay constituents’ opinions about gay marriage than to straight constituents’ opinions about gay marriage.  But it is not unjust for them to do that.  (In NH, by the way, about 90% of the legislators who voted for marriage equality were straight, and about 80% of them were currently married to persons of the opposite sex. And I suspect some closeted gay state reps voted “no” on marriage equality.)

    The gay marriage vote in Maine is kind of like forbidding anyone from Aroostook County from marrying.  If you live in York County, it makes no difference to you at all: you may not even know anyone in Aroostook.  You may even be afraid of those people way the hell up there in Aroostook and be inclined to keep them from marrying just because they scare you.  But the prejudice of the people in York County shouldn’t trump the rights of the people in Aroostook County.

    • Rep. Jim Splaine

      …good thoughts, and NO ONE could ever suggest you are elitist!  

    • Dean Barker

      There’s a reason the Roman Republic lasted a whole lot longer than the Athenian direct democracy.

      Representative democracy works better and is more durable than radical democracy.

      Thank God the Founders were well read enough in Classical literature to know that when they built our system.

      Too bad the philoreferendists don’t.  

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