North Country
2:54 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Bill To Repeal Same-Sex Marriage Lacks Strong Support In The North Country

Half of 16 North Country representatives say they will vote against repealing same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.

A bill to do that is expected to come before the legislature next month.

In October the House Judiciary Committee voted to undo the state’s gay marriage law and replace it with civil union (http://news.nhpr.org/post/house-panel-backs-gay-marriage-repeal).

The lead sponsor of the bill (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/m_billtext.aspx?billnumber=HB0437.html) is Republican David Bates of Windham.

While the bill is sponsored by Republicans only three of the 10 Republican reps polled by NHPR said they would definitely support it.

They are Greg Sorg of Easton, Edmond Gionet of Lincoln and Duffy Daugherty of Colebrook. Sorg and Gionet are also sponsors of the bill.

“Basically there is no reason for the state to involve itself in the affection between adults if it weren’t for the fact that the affection between men and women result in children on a regular basis and the state has an interest in encouraging people who produce children to raise them together in a common household,” said Sorg in a telephone interview. “This is the distinguishing characteristic of marriage and it is exclusive to heterosexual couples.”

Gionet said he favors repealing the law because “I am a one man, one woman guy.”

Two other Republican reps, John Tholl of Whitefield, and Herbert Richardson, of Lancaster, said they are against repealing same-sex marriage.

“I am against same-sex marriage but I think it would be inappropriate to go back and take something away from somebody,” Tholl said. “It has already been done. It is kind of hard to un-do it.”

Five other Republicans said they were undecided.  They are Larry Rappaport of Colebrook; William Remick of Lancaster; Marc Tremblay of Berlin and Lyle Bulis and Stephanie Eaton of Littleton.

Eaton said she thinks people should be able to live their lives as they want if they are not hurting anyone. But she said it is important for her to see the final version of the bill before deciding how to vote.

Bulis and Tremblay each said they are waiting to hear more from their constituents about how they should vote.

Rappaport said “I am sort of in between. I strongly support civil unions but to me a marriage is a religious thing and in fact I don’t believe the state should be involved other than as a recorder.”

Six North Country Democrats said they will vote against changing the law. They are Evalyn Merrick of Lancaster; Gary Coulombe of Berlin; Robert Theberge of Berlin; Yvonne Thomas of Berlin; William Hatch of Gorham and Kathleen Taylor of Franconia.

“The law doesn’t harm anyone,” said Taylor.