A vote on the bill that would repeal marriage equality in New Hampshire is expected to come next week, possibly on January 18. Although no one can be sure how the vote will go, a poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center in October found that 62% of New Hampshire citizens support marriage equality, and 44% would vote against a lawmaker who worked for repeal.
In a last push for support for marriage equality, Standing Up for New Hampshire Families has released an ad in which Craig Stowell, a Republican and Marine veteran who served in Iraq, asks that New Hampshire preserve his gay brother Calvin’s right to marry so that he can someday be best man at Calvin’s wedding like Calvin was for his.
The White House has also issued a statement on the potential for repeal in NH, which, while not perhaps explicitly in support of same-sex marriage, isn’t in support of bigotry, either.
“While the president does not weigh in on every single action taken by legislative bodies in our country, the record is clear that the president has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples,” said White House spokesperson Shin Inouye. “The president believes strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away.”
The situation in NH is a unique one; like Prop 8, this wouldn’t just be a state attempting to gain marriage equality and not succeeding, this would be a state that’s already given the right of marriage to its citizens retracting it. (Although in this case that decision would be made by state lawmakers, not a voter initiative.) The White House’s statement is no insignificant thing in this case, and hopefully it will remind legislators that they’re the ones who are responsible for not “denying rights and benefits” to their constituents.
The push for marriage equality in New Jersey is still ongoing. While the New Jersey bill for marriage equality could very easily fall apart at Governor Chris Christie’s will, that doesn’t seem like a completely 100% foregone conclusion so far. He’s avoided making any kind of statement about his plans for the bill, which isn’t necessarily heartening, but is still better than announcing that he plans to veto it. While the Star-Ledger reminds us that this bill “is not likely to succeed while Christie remains in office” and claims that “he will veto it, as promised,” we can at least take comfort in the fact that he may not have already decided to do so. Maybe.
It’s a time of uncertainty for marriage equality in the northeast; this time next year could see much more freedom and equality across the eastern seaboard, or we could see rights that families rely upon right now being taken away. But this wouldn’t be the first setback that marriage equality activists have had, and if these initiatives fail, it will only be temporarily.