Same-Sex Marriage

After months of anticipation, the Supreme Court overturned The Defense of Marriage Act, and ruled California’s proposition eight unconstitutional. Both are considered major decisions for the gay rights movement. We’ll look closer at these rulings and what they may mean for the Granite State.

Guests :

Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union Devon Chaffee says the ruling will have a significant positive impact for same-sex couples in the Granite State.

“After this decision, we’ll see same sex couples marries in New Hampshire and elsewhere being able to benefit from programs like family medical leave, social security survivor benefits and access to healthcare for spouses.”

Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Hampshire since 2010.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The most popular stories of the past week, from our newsroom, Word of Mouth, and The Exchange.

1. The Common Core State Standards: Not Yet In Place, Already Controversial

Thea Dodds

In 2005, photographer Thea Dodds was hired to shoot a wedding in Massachusetts. She spoke to the prospective bride on the phone and drove down to meet the happy couple.

Dodds: I went and met them and it was two women (laughs). So I didn’t even know before I met them that it was a same-sex wedding.

That two-brides no groom job led to other same-sex weddings. And as she gained more experience, Dodds began to realize that she was falling into the same trap.

Rick Ganley, NHPR

This week the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two high-profile cases about gay rights, including a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA.

As the U.S. Supreme court hears two cases concerning same-sex marriage this week, we’ll get reaction from New Hampshire people involved in this issue.  Our state is among the nine which allow same-sex couples to marry.  We’ll talk with those involved in making this happen and those who believe it was the wrong choice.

Guests:

Nearly ten years ago Vicky Gene Robinson made international news by being the first openly gay person elected Bishop of an Episcopal Diocese. The action divided the church and Robinson made more headlines for being gay, than being Bishop.  Now as he prepares to step down after nearly a decade of service, he's out with a new book.  In God Believes in Love , Robinson tries to answer ten questions "frequently asked by those trying to understand if gay marriage is truly a just and righteous path for our states, our country and our world.  Today Bishop Gene Robinson joins us to talk ab

Bass, Kuster Square-Off Over DOMA

Nov 3, 2012

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.

Tina Forbes, NHPR

The national restaurant chain Chick-fil-A has been in the news lately, after the company’s president and CEO reaffirmed that the company supports what he calls “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

New Hampshire Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien says he would again seek to outlaw gay marriage in the state if he wins another term as Speaker.

When it comes to campaign money, there's one industry GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney can count on: finance.

Some of the single largest checks to the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future come from hedge fund managers. People at securities and investment firms have contributed more than $16 million.

Paul Singer, the man behind the hedge fund Elliott Management, has contributed $1 million.

As of Dec. 31, Elliott Management had $19.2 billion in assets, making it one of the nation's largest hedge funds.

Herbert Burtis met the person he wanted to marry in college, in 1948. But since the object of his affection was another man, they had to wait until 2004 for the ceremony, when Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages.

"It's a long engagement," Burtis says, laughing. "We thought it was time that we made each other honest people."

His spouse, John Ferris, died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.

The 211-116 margin was a victory for gay rights advocates. It was also a shock to social conservatives, who thought a 3 to 1 GOP majority combined with a party platform that defines marriage as a between a man and women, would secure the bill’s passage. 

Deep into a debate that lasted 2 hours and included 10 separate votes, Kingston Republican David Welch stated what by then was plain: gay marriage is topic that divides House Republicans.

 

Ten North Country representatives were among those who voted Wednesday to kill a bill that would have repealed gay marriage. 

Only four North Country representatives voted to keep the repeal alive.

Two others were excused from voting.

As NHPR reported the Republican-controlled House decided to keep the state's gay marriage law in place on a 211 – 116 vote.

The House on Wednesday decided to keep the state's gay marriage law in place. 

Same-sex couples have been able to marry legally since 2009. 

The Republican-controlled House voted 211-116 against a repeal. 

Gov. John Lynch had pledged to veto the repeal bill if it had passed. The debate on the House floor took more than two hours. New Hampshire is one of eight states that allow gay marriage.

House Set To Vote On Gay Marriage Repeal

Mar 21, 2012
Marcia Blackman outside the Statehouse

The House is expected to vote this afternoon on a measure that would repeal the State’s 2009 law that legalized same-sex marriage. 

There is a decidedly quiet mood outside the Statehouse today, as both opponents and supporters of gay marriage await an anticipated vote on a repeal.  The Republican-sponsored measure attempts to re-define marriage as between a man and a woman. The bill would allow for civil unions.

Statehouse observers expect a close vote, in part because of a strong libertarian streak that runs through many House Republicans.

 

About two-dozen members of the pro-gay marriage group Standing Up For New Hampshire Families held a news conference to urged the defeat of the bill slated for a vote in the House Wednesday. State Rep. Mike Ball, chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee, compared the repeal effort to a segregation law, and added he can’t back his party platform’s opposition to gay marriage.

"The Republican platform is wrong on that issue. That’s the bottom line. Much as I’d like to say we are a hundred percent right, on this one we are not right. This is a civil liberties issue."  

 

The House is expected to consider repealing same-sex marriage as early as Wednesday and half of 16 North Country representatives have said say they will vote against changing the law.

In October the House Judiciary Committee voted to undo the state’s gay marriage law and replace it with civil union .

The lead sponsor of the bill is Republican David Bates of Windham.

Three representatives from the North Country voted not to kill House Bill 1264 which would have allowed “an individual to choose not to provide accommodations, goods, or services for a marriage if doing so would violate his or her conscience or religious faith.”

It was proposed by Rep. Jerry Bergevin, a Republican from Hillsborough.

Vows over Gay Marriage

Mar 9, 2012
thirtycats / Flickr/Creative Commons

On June 3, 2009, Governor John Lynch signed a law that allowed gay marriage in the Granite State. A little less than 7 months later, the first wedding ceremonies began to be performed.  At the time, New Hampshire made history as the first state to pass a same-sex union bill without a court order or the threat of one.  But before the first "I do" was uttered, some groups and lawmakers vowed to pass legislation overturning the law.  Last year, bills were tabled to focus on the budget, but now this year several pieces of legislation are on the table and money on both sides of this interest is

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

Book Cover Courtesy Peter Nicolas & Mike Strong

With the constant legal and legislative changes affecting same-sex couples across the country, it might seem an impossible feat to keep track.

In The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps), authors Mike Strong and Peter Nicolas do just that. They offer a concise view of the political landscape regarding gay marriage.  And they do so in a unique way: offering visual representations of votes and legal rights.

Photo by F. Tronchin via Flickr Creative Commons

Same-sex marriage is back in the headlines with a ruling on Proposition 8 in California and legislative action in Washington state. Earlier this week, New Hampshire saw rallies both for and against traditional marriage. As this front in the culture war rages from coast to coast, maybe it’s time to figure out exactly what we’re fighting over.

Politicians and journalists always run a risk when they judge a voter strictly on on appearances.

There was a reminder of that Monday when Mitt Romney was forced to defend his opposition to gay marriage during a restaurant encounter with a grizzled Vietnam veteran who happened to be gay.

As it turned out the vet, Bob Garon, also was sitting at a restaurant booth with his husband when the unsuspecting Romney, campaigning at the Manchester restaurant, asked if he could sit down with them.