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Religious Tolerance logo

Same sex marriage (SSM) in New Hampshire

2011-SEP/OCT: House subcommittee considers repeal
of SSM law. Poll shows high public support for SSM

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2011-SEP-14: House subcommittee reviews bill to end marriage equality:

The House Judiciary Panel considered HB 437. In its original form, it would have banned the state from recognizing loving, committed same-sex couples and their families. It would have terminated same-sex marriages (SSMs) that were made available starting in 2010-JAN. It would have also banned civil unions that had been approved years earlier. Same-sex couples would be viewed only as simple roommates. They and their children would be without any of the state benefits and protections enjoyed by opposite-sex couples.

The panel voted to amend the bill so that civil unions would be made available to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Also, same-sex marriages solemnized between 2010-JAN and the date that the new law would come into effect would still be recognized. However, no new SSMs would be permitted. 5

The Union Leader newspaper reported:

"Rep. Gregory Sorg, (R-Easton), a co-sponsor of the bill and the amendment, said gay marriage will cause harm to society over time, even if it is not evident now. 'Some societal changes take generations to manifest themselves,' he argued.

Gay marriage proponents criticized the bill. Standing up for New Hampshire Families spokesman Tyler Deaton called the language in the bill 'pernicious … It goes out of its way to employ discriminatory language'." 5

Some readers of the Union Leader article posted comments. The first half dozen were:

  • Seth Thayer: "It's sad that the poverty level in this country keeps going up, yet legislators have time to take up a bill (most likely written by an outside organization like the National Organization for Marriage) that legislates the way people can love while also adding in that it is alright to discriminate against American citizens. What has our country come to?"

  • David Grossman: " 'Rep. Sorg said gay marriage will cause harm to society over time, even if it is not evident now.'

    Based on that ideology, no social progress should ever take place in America because 50 years from now all hell could break loose. No doubt, slaves should never have been freed, because decades later society might actually have to give them their civil rights. We also shouldn't have given women the right to vote, because men won't be able to control them anymore. Yeah, social progress is a scary thing when you have to treat everyone the same under the law.

    Rep. Sorg's position is incredibly convenient and meaningless. He gets to accuse gay citizens of harming society without a single shred of proof. None. Zero. Zilch. Then he gets to funnel that irrational animus into discriminatory laws that do ACTUAL real-world harm to people. So who exactly is the one doing the harming here?

    It really is galling that after almost two years he couldn't come up with one valid argument why marriage equality needs to be stopped. Too bad people like Mr. Sorg are incapable of empathy or shame. Because what he's doing is beyond shameful. It's evil."

  • Mike Kasall: "I'd love hear more about what 'societal changes' will happen over time if gay people are allowed to continue marrying each other. For the life of me, I can't figure out why straight people care what gay people do with their lives."

  • Chris Vogel said: "Marriage opponents' only refuge is their so-called religious beliefs, which turn out on inspection to be no better than conceit, malice, and wilful ignorance. Still, better than the old days: modern secular governments do not permit their traditional response to difference: torture and mass murder. What a joke that they call themselves 'Christians'!"

  • Mike Lane: "... Good job Republicans! You ran on job creation and this is how you deliver.

    Partisan politics is a much greater threat to this country than gay marriage, or even terrorism for that matter. Osama Bin Laden could only dream of hurting this country as much as our politicians have by dividing us with wedge issues like abortion, gay marriage, guns, and religion. Meanwhile our infrastructure is crumbling and our people have no jobs.

    I don't even understand how these people dare to show their faces in public.

  • Bob Smith: " A completely stupid waste of everyone's time.

    I am an independent voter who voted Republican to sweep the dems out and get the state's fiscal house in order. I also wanted 2nd amendment rights expanded and protected.

    I did NOT vote for a Bible thumper agenda and I do not want gay marriage overturned or touched. Independent voters are fiscally conservative, liberty loving and socially tolerant.

    Bear this in mind Republicans. You may be playing to some of the holy rollers in your base but if you repeal gay marriage you may find yourselves back in the minority courtesy of independent voters. We will not tolerate gay bashing in our state.

    Remember that or suffer the consequences at the ballot box in 2012." 5
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2011-OCT-02: Poll shows strong support for SSM among New Hampshire adults:

A "WMUR Granite State Poll" by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center shows strong public opposition to the repeal of the SSM law:

  • 62% of adults sampled oppose repeal (50% strongly; 12 somewhat).
  • 27% support repeal (22% strongly; 5% somewhat).
  • 11% have no opinion or didn't answer.

When asked what effect SSM had on the state:

  • 9% felt it had a major effect on the state; 9% of Republicans and 11% of conservatives agreed.
  • 38% felt that SSM had a minor effect.
  • 47% said it had no effect.
  • 6% didn't know or didn't answer

When asked what effect SSM had had on their personal lives:

  • 6% felt it had a major effect;
  • 12% felt it had a minor impact;
  • 81% felt it had no impact.
  • 1% didn't know or didn't answer.

When asked whether they would be more or less likely to vote for a legislator because of their position on the repeal of the SSM law:

  • 44% of adults are more likely to vote against a legislator who supports repeal of the SSM law.
  • 14% of adults are less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes repeal of the law.

The poll was taken between 2011-SEP-26 and OCT-02 among 482 randomly selected adults. The margin of error is ±4.4 percentage points.

Andrew Smith, director of the Center said:

"Strong opponents of repealing same-sex marriage continue to outnumber strong proponents by more than 2 to 1. The New Hampshire public is not showing any strong desire to repeal this law." 6,7

Opposition to repeal of the SSM law remains unchanged at 62% from those of a poll taken in 2011-FEB. Support for repeal has dropped from 29% to 27%. 6,7

It would seem that any state senator or representative who votes to repeal the SSM law would be violating their prime directive: to do everything necessary to stay in office after the next election. It seems that a strong majority of New Hampshire adults have no problem with SSM in their state, but a significant number would not vote for a legislator who votes to repeal the law.

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News about the repeal process to end SSM continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Norma Love, "NH panel votes to recommend gay marriage repeal," Associated Press, 2011-OCT-25, at:
  2. Igor Volsky, "New Hampshire Committee To Vote On Repealing Marriage Equality," Think Progress, 2011-OCT-24, at:
  3. "House Committee Votes To Repeal Same-Sex Marriage," Video, WMUR Channel 9, 2011-OCT-25, at:"
  4. "Pro-gay marriage New Hampshire group begins anti-repeal push," Burlington Free Press, 2011-OCT-27, at:
  5. Tom Fahey, "Gay marriage repeal advances, bill would allow civil unions," Union Leader, 2011-SEP-14, at:
  6. "Poll Shows Little Support For Repealing Same-Sex Marriage. Voters More Likely To Support Candidate Who Opposes Repeal Of Law," WMUR, 2011-OCT-13, at:
  7. "NH opposed to repeal of gay marriage," UNH Survey Center, 2011-OCT-13, at:

Copyright © 2011 and 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-SEP
Latest update: 2012-JAN-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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