I was working on another post when I learned some good news from the Granite State. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), “in a bipartisan 243-129 vote, the New Hampshire State House passed civil unions legislation that would give same-sex couples the exact same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples in the state.“
While this blog is normally at odds with HRC and its Democrat-loving President Joe Solmonese, I agree with him that, “This is a tremendous step forward for same-sex couples in New Hampshire.” I wish he had noted that unlike its neighbor to the West, the New Hampshire state legislature passed this bill without being compelled to do so by the state Supreme Court (as was the case in Vermont).
As I have long said, I believe it is the province of the state legislature to decide issues of marriage and civil unions. What’s important here is that while the Granite State is one of the nation’s smallest (in terms of population), it has the nation’s largest State House of Representatives. Indeed, it boasts being the “the third-largest parliamentary body in the English speaking world. Only the U.S. Congress and Britain’s Parliament are larger.” Thus, these representatives representing very small constituencies are very close to the people, the true model of citizen legislators our founders envisioned. Their vote for the bill suggests that there is popular support for civil unions.
Joe Solmonese is right. This is indeed a tremendous step forward. That it took place in the elected state legislature suggests there is a consensus emerging, at least in the Northeast, for civil unions.
Now that Solmonese is cheered by these results, let’s hope that he and other gay leaders focus not on convincing unelected judges of the merits of state recognition of gay unions but on making their case to the people and their elected representatives.