Protecting Marriage Equality

Once again the Free State/Tea Party legislature in Concord is focused on a narrow ideological agenda rather than jobs and the economy.  Today they will actually harm our economy by attempting to repeal marriage equality.  Rather than wasting taxpayer dollars revoking the rights of our citizens, they should focus on issues vital to our state such as job creation and improving our education system.

One of the first questions I was asked in my first public debate for the State Senate seat of District 6 was my position on marriage equality.  I didn’t put my finger in the political winds at that time and I will not do so if elected your next Governor of New Hampshire. There will be no compromise over protecting the rights of New Hampshire’s citizens to marry the person they love.  The civil rights of our citizens are too fundamental to our New Hampshire traditions to put up for a popular vote.

In 2009 we had the courage to stand up, do the right thing and recognize the equal rights of all Granite Staters. Today, the O’Brien Legislature is once again trying to turn back the clock on that equality.  New Hampshire’s citizens have said loudly and clearly they oppose any repeal.  Let’s hope that there are a sufficient number of brave souls in our legislature who refuse to be bullied into submission by relinquishing our citizens’ rights.

Finally, a word of thanks to all of you who worked so hard to make our state a leader in marriage equality in the first place. Three years ago, you made history and reaffirmed New Hampshire’s motto of “Live Free or Die.” Thousands of Granite State couples have wed since then, gaining hard-won legal rights and protections.  As a state senator, I was proud to be a part of that history, and as your governor, I will remain vigilant in protecting marriage equality.

UPDATE from @JackieForNH:

For the first time, many in the #NHHouse heard the voices of the people, and denied Bill O’Brien the votes to repeal our right to marry.-JC


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  • Rep. Jim Splaine

    …has been among our heroes on the cause of marriage equality.  Without both of them, we would not have won marriage equality in 2009.  After it passed the House and stalled in the State Senate, Jackie and Maggie stood up and worked for passage.  

    We’re where we are because of their hard work and foresight.  I should mention that even before the bill got to the Senate, Senators Bette Lasky, Martha Fuller Clark, and Harold Janeway appeared in favor of House Bill 436 at the public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Februry 5, 2009.  Their support there gave the legislation the credibility that it needed to eventually succeed in the House, which itself was a close vote.

    I’m so pleased to see Bette Lasky is running to re-take her Senate seat.  She rocks!

  • SethCohn

    Plenty of good folks who are Tea Partiers were on your side today, Ms. Cilley.  Perhaps you can acknowledge that, honestly.

    • elwood

      Once again it’s All About Seth.

      Seth, who tried to end ALL marriage rather than just accept New Hampshire law.

      And now, once the Tea Party installed O’Brien and his gang of thugs into control of the House and its agenda, they read the polls and step back – and demand an apology from those who remember the damage they have already inflicted.

      • GreyMike

        At this hour tells the tale. Good night and color me disinterested in the drive-by antics.  

    • susanthe

      as usual, Rep. Cohn. You hitched your wagon to a loser, and now you’re backpedaling as fast as you can to try to distance yourself from the O’Brien junta and the whole losing GOP. You essentially lied to get voted in, supported all manner of extremism, and NOW, when it looks like you’ll get your ass handed to you in November, you’re trying to rewrite history.

      I notice you fail to mention ALL of the Free Staters, Seth. Where was Manuse? McMahon? “not voting?” What kind of weenieism is that? And Dan “pay to move my river” McGuire voted no? So much for those libertarian values you people bleat about.

      You don’t get to make any demands here, Cohn. We aren’t ever going to forget what you and your fellow carpetbaggers have been part of.  

      • victoriap

        Rep Cohn is apparently not as strategic as the McGuires, Rep Manuse and Rep Warden, who voted in favor of the bill or didn’t show up.

        Rep Cohn and other Free Staters have co-sponsored a vast number of bills this year, many of them the most controversial bills that have been heard, on education, unions, the environment, public safety, guns, and so much more. We need to keep this firmly in mind, and make it clear to the voters in November.

        They seek to fundamentally change New Hampshire, and are not going away. I have no doubt that some will use the vote on gay marriage as a promotional tool.  

        • susanthe

          the bottom line is that Seth Cohn is demanding we give him a pat on the back for acting in accordance with the beliefs he claims to espouse.  

          • SethCohn

            And Victoria, your favorite Representative, Kyle Tasker voted consistently against repeal.  I’m sure he’s not expecting your thanks either.  If he got it, he’d be so shocked, he might drop his gun again.

            • victoriap

              As he came down the steps of the State House, I thanked Rep Tasker for voting against the amendment sponsored by Rep Manuse on HB1546 regarding birth control. I thank you as well for you vote on that same bill, – and thank you both for your votes on gay marriage yesterday.

              But that doesn’t mean I can overlook all the other bills that Free Staters, including you have sponsored this year. These bills show an appalling lack of understanding about what New Hampshire is, and what it needs as we all head into an uncertain future. And they show disrepect for those who have come before you all. But you can’t see that.

              • SethCohn

                One thing that those Democrats who take the time to talk to me learn is that I really do try to know the facts to back up an opinion, or a vote I take. (And I’ve had a few hard button pushes in the last few sessions, where both sides are compelling)  

                My opinion isn’t about ‘lack of understanding’, it’s a different understanding, a different respect for perhaps different values.  I could say the exact same comment about you and others, from the other side of the table.  We disagree on solutions.  I value finding common ground with people, agreeing on problems (which is still a hard task), and then seeing if solutions can be found which meet all our values.  Sometimes they can’t. Sometime they can.

                • susanthe

                  so your vote to force women to wait 24 hours for a legal medical procedure, so that they could be given dishonest materials to read was based on fact?

                  • SethCohn

                    This vote was one of them… as much as I disliked the bill, the more I heard from women who felt they weren’t given all of the facts, and doctors denying that they should provide this information, the more I realized that the current status quo was sometimes in apparent violation of the patient rights laws we already have, and despite disliking the very questionable facts included (the cancer one for sure), I ended up in support of the concept if not all of the elements.  I told my seatmates I planned on asking the Senate to remove those facts when they got the bill.  When it turns out the bill was sent back to a House committee to remove the too strong criminal penalty (which escaped many of us at the time, it wasn’t discussed clearly), I revisited my decision, and I’m more likely to vote No this time it comes to the floor, as I remain too mixed on the bill as a whole to think it’s the right answer to what I still agree is a problem…  

                    I remain pro-choice, but also pro-patient rights to be fully informed, including the full cost and outcomes of treatment.  Given that I’d just tried to pass a medical pricing disclosure (to force doctors to share their pricing with patients and prospective patients), I saw this as along the same lines: consumer protection.  We have plenty of other consumer 24 hour ‘think twice, change your mind’ protections, and this left emergencies out (as did my bill).

                    • susanthe

                      You used your position to force women to wait, unnecessarily, for a medical procedure. For many of those women that will mean losing at least 2 days pay. That’s in a state where she is already paid significantly less than her male counterpart in the workplace.

                      On top of that, they are going to have to get handed information that is dishonest. There is no scientific link between breast cancer and abortion, no matter how many times you right wingers try to push bad science on us.

                      Abortion is a legal medical procedure. The PROBLEM is men inserting themselves into decisions that should be made by women and their doctors. The problem is that men use this issue as a means of controlling women – just as they’ve come to get involved with birth control. None of you have an iota of concern about women. You want women out of the workplace. You want women out of the political arena. Women getting power scares the bejeebers out of the misogynists of the GOP. That is what this is all about. Power and oppression by the patriarchal dinosaurs of the GOP.

                      The bottom line is simple. Abortion and women’s reproductive decisions are NONE OF  YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.  

                    • SethCohn

                      I have already posted my viewpoint.  If you wish to insist that you know me and my viewpoint better than I do, then you have a much bigger problem than any you have with me.

                    • TimothyHorrigan

                      I am pleased with how the marriage equality battle turned out— for reasons which aren’t about you, Seth.  You were a very small part of what happened.  To repeat what I just said, it’s not about you.  

                      Having savored the victory, I am getting ready for next week’s battles, which probably will not go so well.  They aren’t about you, either.

                    • Rep. Jim Splaine

                      …but it’s so good to have you as a New Hampshire State Representative.  You’d make a great Governor!  

                    • SethCohn

                      I didn’t even get to give my speech…
                      I posted because Jackie’s rhetoric turned out to be wrong… and that seem to owe an apology.

                      Not thanks, not about me, but ‘free staters’ weren’t the enemy, they were the allies.

                      And it’s sad how easily the usual folks here try to avoid that, and turn it about me.  It was never about me, for me.

                    • susanthe

                      very clearly, Representative Cohn. You bleat about smaller government and less interference in the lives of people – yet here you are voting in FAVOR of government interference in the most intimate decisions individuals can make.

                      You would never vote this way on male reproductive freedom. Of course, male reproductive freedom is a given. It’s only a women’s right to bodily autonomy that is up for grabs – for men to legislate.

                      If women’s reproductive organs belong to the state – a position held by the political party you represent – than it’s time for the state to start paying for the care and upkeep of the incubators. Just as the state pays for maintaining the plow trucks, cars, and buildings.  

                    • SethCohn

                      On vasectomies?

                      Never mind that it’s not quite the same thing, unles you agree with Rick Santorum.

                      But hey, wacky amendments are my thing, can’t hurt my reputation.

                    • susanthe

                      because obviously you have no intelligent responses to the points I’ve made.

                      How can you defend your alleged stance on less gubmint interference in our personal lives when you’ve voted to interfere in women’s bodily autonomy and medical privacy?

                      Apparently you’re not counting on the women’s vote.  

                    • SethCohn

                      You just don’t agree with my answer.

                    • susanthe

                      you just tapdance around every point I make. I understand why. It must be tough to march in lockstep with the Christian Taliban when you boast about being pro-liberty. You’re too afraid to respond.

                      Fauxbertarian is the operative term.  

                • victoriap

                  I think it is about a lack of understanding. You and other Free Staters simply don’t have enough understanding of New Hampshire yet. You have some idealized version of what NH is and how much better it could be, if liberty reigned.

                  You don’t have an understanding – since you haven’t been here very long – about the consensus that has been built here slowly over time, – on issues like environmental protection, health and safety, looking out for the common good, and so much more.  

                  Free Staters are so focused on their own damn liberties that they can’t see this, and don’t think they need to even consider it. When you and other Free Staters came here, instead of marching in lockstep to NH Liberty Alliance and Republican Liberty Caucus instructions, why didn’t you first ask to have some conversations with your constituents and others in the State about the issues reflected in the many far reaching bills you and others have now proposed ?  

                  Now that you are in power, having control over the lives of others, including mine, must seem awfully enticing. If not, – why so many bills, and so fast ?

                  • SethCohn

                    Given that a number of fights on the floor have had freestaters on both sides, and I myself have voted against the NHLA gold sheet at times, I think you believe something not actually true here.

                    You really need to sit down with some of us and talk and stop believing the lies you’ve been told about us, and are repeating blindly.  I think you’d find you and I might agree more than you think right now.

                    • victoriap

                      I’ve looked at the bills co-sponsored by Free Staters and their votes on those bills and others, this year and last, as well as the NHLA ratings. They tie in so well with the stated goals of the FSP. It’s the overall picture that I think speaks for itself.

                      But I would in fact like to sit down and talk with you and other Free Staters. (I actually do agree with you on a few issues). FSP ideas, and plans, need to see the light of day – beyond the walls of the Legislative Office building and the State House.

                      There should be public forums around the State, before the November elections, on alternative visions for NH’s future, and what citizens and legislators intend to do to further those visions.

            • Granite Gnome

              I don’t agree with you on much. But as a gay man who is not yet married, and can now still get married in his own state, I appreciate your vote on Wednesday.

              I also appreciate the votes of the 92 Democrats and 115 other Republicans. It really sucks knowing that such an important part of your life is in someone else’s hands, and I’m just glad that it went the way it did.  

              • SethCohn

                Government out of marriage, 425 people too many.

                • Rep. Jim Splaine

                  …in lots of things.  In marriage, it has a role in making sure that the “contract” that is a marriage license will be respected by both parties — protecting the rights of each in that marriage.  

                  What government should do is to make that process — a civil marriage as we now have available to straights and gays — EQUAL.  Marriage equality does that.  

                  Why can’t elected politicians who would otherwise like to get into manipulating my life and relationships just stay away from me?  Isn’t that what liberty and freedom means?

                  There’s some hypocrisy in those who say otherwise.

                  But on some things, like putting up stop signs, protecting men and women in the workplace, requiring that YOUR car passes a level of safety standards so that it’s less likely to smash into MY car, having environmental regulations, and making sure that legal (i.e. civil marriage) contracts are binding and protect both parties, government has an important role in our society.

      • SethCohn

        I said “owe the Free Staters who got up and fought for equality”, and “Plenty of Tea Partiers”

        Not all.  I admit that.  Not happy about it, but as I said to a high up Democrat on the floor “Hmm, a few issues now, we have Free Staters on both sides… So much for the idea that there is an agenda we all follow”  To which they replied, “Yeah, and it’ll be even more when we have Free Stater Democrats again”  Shades of things to come…

        As for Manuse, he was open about his views and he stuck to his principles as he told people he would.

        On the ITL vote: MacMahon, Bruce – Yea
        Not sure which vote Bruce might have missed, I didn’t look for it in particular.  He was there.
        Warden had to leave for a work appointment, he wasn’t happy to do so, but the late session wasn’t planned for… He stuck as long as he could.

        Dan McGuire is wrong (IMHO), but he got up and spoke about why he feels that way, so I won’t defend him, he did it himself.  I disagree with him, and have told him so many times.

        Jenn Coffey got up and spoke, as did Cam DeJong and Keith Murphy.  The folk who stood up in defense of equality were the liberty crew… and you ignore that if you want, but others won’t.

        And I didn’t make any ‘demands’, I responded to Ms. Cilley’s inflammatory language.

        • susanthe

           a big public thank you for acting in accordance with the principles you claim to espouse????

          Your sense of entitlement is a wonder to behold.  

          • SethCohn

            Really, Susan, do you need to always twist things?

            Cilley said “Once again the Free State/Tea Party legislature in Concord is focused on a narrow ideological agenda rather than jobs and the economy.  Today they will actually harm our economy by attempting to repeal marriage equality.”

            Since in fact, that turned out to be not only inaccurate but the Free Staters (with exceptions I already granted) actually lead the fight AGAINST the repeal, I believe(d) an apology is in order.  Facts are facts.  Never asked for, nor expected, a thank you.  Just a correction would be honest, at least.

            • susanthe

              Spanky. You’re part of the most destructive legislature that has ever been in place in our state – and that includes the narrow, ideological agenda. You’re a Republican – and you are one of them.

              Just because you voted in accordance with your own espoused views ONCE, doesn’t mean you get a free pass for the rest of it.

              • SethCohn

                Does this mean I get to call you a pet name too?  Be careful, Kathy might get jealous.

                Never asked for a free pass.  And when some Republicans are telling me I’m not narrow enough for them, and other Democrats are telling I’m one of the reasonable ones they know they can have conversations with and find common ground, I’m doing something right…

                • SethCohn

                  With my hair as it is right now (still waiting for Lee Quandt to get well enough to cut it, as planned), I’m more of a Buckwheat. (In a non-racist way, of course)

                • susanthe

                  You were desperate for an outpouring of gratitude. You wanted back slaps and attaboys. All for doing the thing you’re supposed to do, IF you believe in the ideology you claim to.

                  You had to vote against repeal. If you didn’t, you’d have been labeled a hypocrite – and you can’t afford that kind of public scorn and ridicule in an election year.  

                  • Tim C.

                    Seth voted the way he said he’d vote, which is the way that you and I wanted reps to vote, helped corral (insofar as that’s possible), cajole and persuade similarly-minded folk into voting that way, quite effectively mocked the absurdity of the repeal effort, and succeeded, along with many, many other hardworking folks, Democratic and Republican, progressive and libertarian and a few clue-possessing conservatives, in delivering a stunning and unexpected defeat to the forces of bigotry and reaction.  Seth is well within his rights to celebrate his part in it. A hundred Democratic votes were pretty much guaranteed, as were a dozen or two Republican votes. As far as the eighty to a hundred extra Republican reps, I tend to think that Seth probably had more of a hand in bringing them around to the light on this issue than any loud-mouthed radical firebrand. (And no, I do not intend that term as criticism, nor do I imagine that you’d take it as such.)

                    Quit gripin’ and join in the happy dance. An insistence that those opposed to most of one’s powerfully held beliefs must perforce be vain, dishonest, corrupt and selfish, and could not possibly be inspired by ideals and hopes similar to yours, even at times identical to yours, is most commonly found in the forces judged by history to be horrifically in the wrong. O’Brien and his tight little clique, for example. As Marcus Aurelius said, the best form of revenge is to not be like him who did the injury. Seth will be stupidly wrong on plenty of other issues, don’t you worry, and you’ll have amply sufficient grounds for vituperation.

                    Until then,

                    • susanthe

                      the way he had to. Expecting me to kiss his ass for doing so is only going to lead to disappointment.

                      By all means, you are free to lead the pucker parade – but my lips are busy framing my ineffectual, yet loud mouth.  

  • Dave O’Brien

    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’Corporations Division lists David Bates of 12 Range Road in Windham, NH as President, Treasurer, Secretary and Director of ZION Christian Fellowship, Inc. of 320 Boston Avenue in Medford, MA.

    This religious organization was previously known as Hillside Evangelical Church and by a third name as Assembly of God Church of Medford MA. Bates appears of have held (and currently holds) the religious postion of “pastor” in these organizations.

    An individual by the name of Robert Bates (CPA) is listed as the Resident Agent.

    This is beginning to looks like someone who hiding under the banner of “smaller government – less taxes” political position to impose his extreme religious agenda on the citizens of NH.

    I wonder if he used “church” funds (nonprofit religious tax status exemption) to pay for his latest legislative activities and efforts to advbance his bills.

    He also is linked to Bates Construction of 12 Range Road in Windham, NH but I have yet to identify any LLC or related filings under that business name.

    Anyone familiar with any of his history is welcome to comment and/or guide me.  

    • TimothyHorrigan

      It is troubling that he didn’t say he was the Pastor of a church in Medford.  Being a pastor is a good thing, but covering it up? Not so good.

      That Massachusetts corporation lookup is great fun.  Bill O’Brien in particular turns out to have a number of interesting connections.

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