Friday night, St. Anselm College hosted the final debate between the candidates for the 2nd District congressional seat. While abortion has been a signature social issue of the race, this time around, the candidates sparred on gay marriage.
The debates between Republican Congressman Charlie Bass and Democrat Ann McLane Kuster have had almost a rote quality to them. The fiscal cliff, anemic economic growth, budget cuts, tax hikes, and abortion have all been hashed over…and rehashed. But Friday night’s debate offered an exchange on a social issue that hasn’t come up much in this race—gay marriage.
Bass began by saying, “I oppose a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. I think it’s legitimate to have this debate conducted at the state level, and what the Defense of Marriage Act simply keeps the federal government out of that debate," at which point Kuster tried to interject. "And by the way," Bass continued, "It was supported by Bill Clinton and the majority of Democrats!"
To which Kuster responded, "Well it does discriminate between New Hampshire couples who are lawfully and legally married, and they should not be discriminated against at the federal level."
The candidates also disagreed on New Hampshire’s Ballot Question One, enshrining the state’s no-income tax policy in the constitution. Bass would vote for it, Kuster against. They did, however, agree that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the federal government has an important role to play in disaster relief, and Congress must address climate change.