The tiny state of New Hampshire took an enormous backward step Tuesday, approving legislation to take away same-sex couples' right to marry, which has been lawful there since 2009. By a vote of 11-6, a Republican-led House committee intends to replace marriage equality with lesser and unequal civil unions.
Despite the fact that a majority of N.H. citizens "strongly oppose" the legislation, if approved by the full House in January, it then goes to the state Senate, potentially becoming a shamefully regressive law.
Democratic Gov. John Lynch has repeatedly said he will veto attempts to repeal same-sex marriage. New Hampshire enacted civil unions in 2007 and two years later supplanted it with full equality for gays.
Currently, gay marriage is legal in New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and D.C. More than 1,500 New Hampshire gay couples have married so far.
The proposed backward step to civil unions would allow discrimination against couples in employment, housing and public accommodations, based on "religious or moral" beliefs.
State Rep. Lucy Weber, D-Walpole, called the bill "mean-minded" and "a masterpiece of muddled drafting."