Posted by Brad @ 8:23 pm on May 20th 2009

Same Sex Marriage Just Killed in the Cradle in New Hampshire?

As you’ll recall, both houses of the legislature passed a same sex marriage bill. It went to the Governor’s desk, who had in the past opposed gay marriage, but who this time said that he would only sign it if the legislature added a superfluous but still inoffensive “exemption” for religious groups. Most people thought “whatever”, and counted the whole deal as a sure thing.

Well, the Senate said “fine, whatever”, it went to the House, and a few hours ago, the New Hampshire house voted against the proposed additional language, 186-188 (the house passed the original bill 186-179). Nobody seems sure what just happened, and a resounding “wtf?” just went through the liberal blogosphere. Did enough liberals and libertarians bristle to adding a pointless religious exemption that they actually may have just wound up killing the bill entirely? Was there some kind of backroom deal from the Governor twisting some arms to get himself and his state out of this particular spotlight? My own guess is that, state legislatures being even more wonky and prone to erraticism than the federal legislature, that enough people found enough different and probably wholly singularly idiotic or singularly principled reasons to vote against the proposed additional language or to change their minds on whether they wanted the bill passed at all that, given the margins, it flipped. Heck, there’s probably even a decent chance that if they just ran the vote on the exact same bill twice it could have turned out differently both times.

For now, I think it goes to a committee, and back to the Governor’s desk. If he does indeed veto it, the whole thing is dead at least for this legislative session, and the hill has to be climbed anew again next go-around. Talk about disappointing.

N.B. I found nothing wrong with the religious exemption clause, save that it was a do-nothing feel-good redundancy that would maybe spur a stupid lawsuit or two in the future (which would then lose). And those dumbf*$#k legislators that voted for the same sex marriage bill but against the additional language deserve to be tarred and feathered. But the Governor will still be the one ultimately vetoeing the thing, so he’ll still deserve the lion’s share of blame.


  1. Libertarians would never in hell vote against that particular exemption. It’s an almost purely libertarian position. This one almost certainly has to be blamed on the liberals.

    Comment by Rojas — 5/20/2009 @ 11:11 pm

  2. Yeah, I wasn’t really thinking when I said that, or rather I was thinking more of a post I had read a few weeks ago from either Kip Esquire or Ed Brayton objecting to the religion angle (so, probably Brayton), meaning why write worse law just to make Christians “feel better”. But that’s not even a majority minority position on this one.

    Comment by Brad — 5/20/2009 @ 11:32 pm

  3. This is why, in general, the Democratic process will arrive at a better, more nuanced, solution than the courts, which are blunt anti-democratic incidents.

    However, democracy can clearly take longer, which can be frustrating.

    Comment by daveg — 5/21/2009 @ 11:21 am

  4. daveg,
    Could you unpack that comment a bit? While I agree that a democratic process produces better, and more stable results compared to a judicial decision, I’m not sure “more nuanced” is accurate, I’m not sure this is the comparison you are making, and I’m baffled as to how this failure to enact anything is the evidence to support your argument. Don’t get me wrong, I think we might be close together on this, but I just don’t quite get how New Hampshire supports your argument.

    Comment by Jack — 5/21/2009 @ 10:21 pm

  5. Well, the religious exception, for example. Now, you can say it doesn’t mean anything, but obviously it does if the left side of the isle changed its vote because of it.

    Abortion would be well settled by now if the courts had stayed out if it, but now we have this strange set of rules that don’t make a lot of sense in many instances and which are painfully difficult to change and which distort our entire judicial nomination process and the 99% of other ruling that body makes.

    Comment by daveg — 5/22/2009 @ 2:37 am

  6. I don’t know daveg, it seems to me that the added religious exception language is entirely superfilous “feel good” legislation and “we stood strong” ass cover for the moderates. Don’t get me wrong, all things being equal, I would prefer that these changes come about through a vote of the people or elected reps rather than the judiciary, I just don’t think nuance is the reason, and I don’t think New Hampshire is a good example at all: it argues for the other side IMHO.

    As to abortion, I don’t think it would be solved at all! We would simply have 50 different abortion laws running the full spectrum, from complete and total illegality in some states (South Dakota) to “on demand” down to age X-teen in others. It would be complicated by the social conservative states attempting to pass laws making it illegal to cross state lines for the purpose of an abortion, and a whole lot of 17 year old boyfriends arrested for things like that I suspect. Solved my ass. Different, sure, but not solved.

    Comment by Jack — 5/24/2009 @ 9:55 pm

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