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NH House rejects anti-gay marriage measures - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

NH House rejects anti-gay marriage measures

Concord, New Hampshire - February 17, 2010

New Hampshire's House has rejected a bill that would have repealed the state's gay marriage law. The House voted 210-109 to kill the bill. And a second measure to define marriage as between a man and a woman was also defeated by a wide margin.

Unlike past debates that flooded Concord with supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, the capital was quiet Wednesday.

Gay marriages became legal at the start of the year in New Hampshire-- the fifth state to grant those rights.

But just six weeks later, the law was up for debate again at the Statehouse.

Supporters say the issue is all about civil rights.

"This is a very private issue for same-sex couples and they need to have the right to determine what their own relationships are going to be and this should have nothing to do with the state," said Rep. Laurie Harding, D-Lebanon. "I'm very proud of New Hampshire for have supported same-sex marriage and marriage equality. I think it was one of the most important things that we have done in the last two years."

But opponents say the gay marriage law only passed because of parliamentary maneuvering.

"It was a disgrace that happened here on that vote," said Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry. "It won by one vote, I mean we killed it by one vote. Then when it came back later on, some of the representatives already went home. The other representatives get up and wouldn't vote. OK, if you check the record you would see. They it won by 15 votes. It was a disgrace for the people."

Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday's votes, opponents hope they prove there is widespread public opposition to gay marriage when about 100 towns hold non-binding petitions on Town Meeting Day next month.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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