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Possible Repeal of Gay Marriage Law in New Hampshire

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 21, 2010 12:15 PM

Those opposing gay marriage in the state of New Hampshire are seeking the repeal of a three week old law that would permit it. According to the Washington Post, opponents of gay marriage in New Hampshire asked the state House Committee to repeal the law. Those opposing gay marriage claim that it is a matter of defying nature.

The Washington Post quotes state Rep. Jordan Ulery, a Republican from Hudson as saying: "A man and a woman together create a family where individuals of the same gender cannot create a family." Not only does the opposition want to repeal the law, they want to amend the New Hampshire Constitution to ban all such marriages. While it looks like the repeal is unlikely to happen, Republicans are banking on voters to enable them to regain the majority of the state legislature during election season. If they win the majority, then they may succeed in future efforts to repeal the law.

While opponents are hoping to allow voters to vote on the issue, gay rights advocates say that particular approach would be wrong. Janson Wu, staff attorney for Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, told the Washington Post: "New Hampshire realizes it is just wrong to vote on people's rights."

Some of the rights that are now accessible to gay couples who marry in New Hampshire are:

  • Right relating to children: visitation rights and child custody
  • Jointly owning property
  • Splitting up property
  • Legal recognition
  • Inheritance
  • Transfer taxes
  • Government benefits
  • Immigration benefits

If the law is repealed, gay couples who are already married may retain these rights because they could be grandfathered in like couples in California were. However, if a gay couple is not married before the law is repealed, then they could lose these rights in their state.

Rep. Ed Butler, a Democrat from Harts Location was quoted as saying, "Marriage is an incredible acknowledgement of our equality. Please don't take it away after so shortly having given us the opportunity to feel the incredibly powerful stamp of access to that word. Marriage is a powerful word."

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