New Hampshire Considering Repealing Gay Marriage And Allowing Civil Unions…Of Siblings

In 2009, New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Of course, conservatives in the state were left up in arms. They immediately began the process of repealing gay marriage and replacing it with civil unions.

The civil union bill, HB 437 has jumped a big hurdle. On Wednesday, the Republican controlled House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend the bill. The bill states that New Hampshire would only recognize a marriage between a man and a woman. It would, however allow civil unions for all adults, including relatives. I guess in New Hampshire, “Love ya’ like a brother” will take on a whole new meaning.

If the bill was to pass, existing same-sex marriages would remain valid. It would prevent new marriages, however.

The bill also suspends state anti-discrimination laws that would give people legal recourse if a group or corporation refused to recognize the civil union. In other words, gay people (or relatives) would be able to form civil unions, but they really wouldn’t mean anything.

Rep. Lucy Weber (D) is critical of the bill, saying it would make a mess of inheritance and probate laws and insults not only the gay population, but anyone who falls outside a narrow range of marital behavior.

“This is the most mean-minded piece of legislation to come before me since I have been sitting in this House,” she said, describing it as a “masterpiece of muddled drafting.”

She also said that language in the bill defines a true marriage as one that produces children, which, she said, “is an incredible slap in the face to infertile couples, childless couples, foster parents, adoptive parents and loving step-parents.”

When asked if the bill would violate incest laws, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David Bates (R) said it does not, noting, “there is no reason for us to speculate on the sexual nature of that relationship.”

A recent poll showed that just 27% of the state favors repeal while 62% are against it.

The bill will be voted on in January, after the Christmas break. Republicans support both the State House and the Senate.