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Golden Oldie: New Hampshire Public Hearing Day Thread

Marriage equality

This Golden Oldie recalls the remarkable day in February when marriage equality supporters vastly outnumbered opponents in New Hampshire on their hearing day, helping spur the decision to shelve the bill. Many supporters were Courage members and/or P8TT readers, all wearing red.

We at P8TT are taking Christmas through New Year’s off, with occasional light posting. Golden Oldies you requested will run in the place of regular posts. If you’d like to suggest one from this year, please leave your suggestion in the comment thread. Regularly scheduled programming will resume on January 2nd -Adam

By Adam Bink

Update: Here’s a summary by an Associated Press writer.

Update: Zandra Rice-Hawkins, ED of Granite State Progress, kindly just sent the following over e-mail to me in response to a “what happens next” inquiry. I thought it would be informative for us all.

Adam,

The committee is very likely to vote today or next week to retain the bills. There is a small chance that some action could still be taken, but the last day to act on the bills would be mid-March and the full House has to complete all actions by Thursday, March 31st. That day is known as Crossover in New Hampshire and is when all bills must cross over to the Senate and visa versa. By general rule of thumb, retained bills will then lay in committee until next January.

It is not a guarantee that there will be another public hearing next year, so today’s turnout was critically important.

Update:With a tip of the hat to Ronnie in the comments, this ad is running in today’s Manchester Union Leader, from a conservative Marine.

Update: A sea of red marriage supporters:

Update: Back. The official pro-con count on the committee sign-in sheet is 540 in favor of equality, 40 opposed. Remarkable. For all those who joined in our Courage action to ask supporters to attend- or attended yourself- pat yourselves on the back!

Update: I have to get on a plane for the next two hours or so, but you can follow @NHFreedom2Marry, which is tweeting a good amount from the hearing, on Twitter.

Update: According to every person on the ground sending back updates from GSP, NHFTM, HRC and friends, anti-equality folks, aside from Maggie, simply didn’t turn out. Plus, hundreds of pro-equality folks went. The room is a sea of red. Contrast in organizing and perhaps more.

Update: I’m working off my PDA while in transit, and told the video may not start playing yet, but live video stream is set up to be here.

Update: Interestingly, at the open of the hearing, Rep Bates, the lead sponsor of one anti-marriage measure, calls for retention, or putting on hold, of the bill until next year (h/t NHFTM).

Update: This could go for some time. The chairman warns that he will hold the committee in session until “the wee hours” if necessary.

Update: Maggie:

Update- My friend Kevin Miniter, who is up in NH with Fred Karger’s campaign, reports at least 400 there- overwhelmingly equality advocates.

Update- Maggie is also there.

Photos coming in:

Updates will scroll from the top

By Adam Bink

This morning, starting between 10 and 10:30 AM EST, will be the big Public Hearing in New Hampshire to consider three different pieces of legislation to repeal the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the state. For more background, I wrote a post on Tuesday outlining what was under consideration.

For those who have never seen what an event of this kind looks like, and its importance, watch this:

That was Mr. Philip Spooner testifying at the public hearing in Maine. Over 4,000 people showed up- so many that the legislature had to move the hearing to a larger auditorium. It was a watershed moment on the bill’s path to passage. We must make today’s event a watershed moment in defense of equality.

Several of our colleagues at Granite State Progress and HRC will be sending back dispatches throughout the day, which I’ll be sorting through and posting here (NOM bus tour style!). We’ll also likely have a live streaming link. I will be traveling through most of the morning, but updates will come throughout the afternoon. Please help out your fellow P8TTers by updating what you see in the comments for those unable to watch or listen live.

For your reading interest before the hearing starts, Courage Campaign, in partnership with Granite State Progress, has collected over 50 written testimonies over the past two days to be submitted for the record at today’s hearing. I’ve pasted many of them below with names redacted, but with location left in. I was struck by the volume of heartfelt testimonies submitted for the public record by straight allies. Thank you, my friends. It is heartening to have such kind people at our movement’s back.

If you’re a New Hampshirite and haven’t yet submitted a written testimony, you can do so here. Some testimonies are below.

I have many gay friends. Love is love. It does no harm to me or my children if my gay friends marry. Fitzwilliam, NH

 

I’ve been married for nearly 20 years. In that time, I’ve seen many of my lesbian and gay friends meet the loves of their lives and I’ve watched as they’ve built the same stable homes for their children, as they contributed to their communities, and as they shared their lives in exactly the same ways my husband I have. Durham, NH

 

I am a straight young woman who has many LGBT friends. They are no different than anybody else. Love has no boundries. Just as there was a fight for couples of different races to be accepted, now we must fight to ensure our LGBT friends and family members have their right to marry as well.

 

I have been married to my husband for 7 years now and we have 2 beautiful children. My friends who are in same-sex relationships should be able to enjoy and live their life, and marry whom they want, without any questions asked! My 7 years of marriage have been amazing and I am showing my children what it’s like to have a partner and be in a loving relationship. Everyone’s children should be able to experience the same, whether they have a mom and dad, two mom’s or two dad’s. It’s a right. It’s equality. Born in Litchfield, now living in Nashua, NH.

 

My mother is a lesbian and has lived with her same-sex partner for the past four years. Although I was already in college when my mother came out, my younger siblings went through the most critical period of their adolescence in a same-sex household. Since my mother recognized her orientation and began a same-sex relationship, our family environment has vastly improved. My mother is far happier than she has ever been and this is reflected in a greater sense of peace and harmony within our family. My siblings (now 15 and 19) have grown into well-adjusted young adults. We are all extremely close to our mother’s partner and consider her an integral part of the family. Manchester, NH

 

I’ve been married since 1996. My husband is a wonderful man and a terrific partner. However, it’s always struck me as incredibly unfair that just because he’s a man and I’m a woman, we have rights that were, until last year, denied to couples of the same sex in New Hampshire. When their families are now recognized, their marriages (which are just as meaningful as ours) are celebrated, and their children are protected in the same way mine are… why should that be taken away? Durham, NH

 

While i am straight, married and a father i know many, many people- singles and couples- who are gay. For example my sister is gay as is a respected and close colleague at work. There is every reason to support equal marriage rights for same sex couples and no credible reason not to. I am proud to be a resident of one of the few states to take a bold step forward on this issue and i would be both dismayed and angered if the state decided to reverse itself. It would be a statement on the fear, insecurity and single mindedness of a few people; not of most persons in this state. Newmarket, NH

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