It would have become the first state to pass such a bill.
The repeal bill was defeated Wednesday (March 21) 211-116, a surprising margin in a chamber in which Republicans hold more than 290 seats in a 400-member chamber. Social conservatives had thought the bill likely would pass and that the only question was whether it would have a veto-proof majority to overcome opposition from Democratic Gov. John Lynch. The Senate had yet to consider it.
Repealing the law seemingly became possible in 2010 when Republicans took back control of the House and Senate from Democrats, who had held both chambers since 2006 and during that four-year span had legalized same-sex civil unions and then gay "marriage," each with Lynch's support. But what social conservatives did not realize in 2010 was that many of those newly elected Republicans were libertarian -- conservative economically but liberal socially -- and were less likely to support a repeal.
The bill would have allowed couples "married" at the bill's implementation to remain so.
New Hampshire-based Cornerstone Policy Research, which supported the bill, expressed disappointment.
"Ultimately, it will be our children that will pay the price for failing to pass HB 437," the organization said in a statement. "For instance, genderless marriage ends the biological link between parents and children. In the future, parenting will just become a contract between two people; the gender roles of a mom and a dad will be irrelevant."
The bill stated that New Hampshire has a "unique, distinct, and compelling interest in promoting stable and committed marital unions between opposite-sex couples" so as to "increase the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by both of their natural parents."
"A child has a natural human right to the love, care and support of his or her own mother and father, whenever possible," the bill stated. "Marriage is the primary social institution that promotes that ideal and encourages its achievement."
The bill's failure affirmed a frustrating political irony for social conservatives: Although a Republican-led legislature almost certainly would not have passed a gay "marriage" bill -- indeed, such a bill never received a vote when the party previously was in charge -- it was not going to overturn such a law, either.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net