American Foundation for Equal Rights

New Hampshire Bill to Repeal Marriage Equality Law Defeated with Bipartisan Support

Majority of House Republicans Vote Against Repeal

Los Angeles, CA – Today, in a show of bipartisan support for the freedom to marry, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 211 to 116 to reject a measure that would repeal marriage equality in that state.  Of the 211 legislators who voted to defeat the bill, 119 are Republican.  Except for those gay and lesbian couples already married in New Hampshire, the bill would have stripped gay and lesbian couples of the equal status and dignity of marriage, and instead reclassified their relationships and families to an inferior status of “civil unions.”

Today’s vote continues the unprecedented nationwide momentum toward ensuring that every American equally enjoys the fundamental freedom to marry.  Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision upholding the historic August 2010 ruling of the Federal District Court that found California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  The Ninth Circuit’s judgment was followed by another federal judge finding the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and bipartisan legislative votes for marriage equality in Washington State, New Jersey, and Maryland.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8.

“Congratulations to the thousands of New Hampshire residents who came together for fairness,” said AFER Board Member Ken Mehlman.  “Thanks to their powerful voices, more than 100 New Hampshire House Republicans joined their colleagues across the aisle to stand up for freedom and family values.”

A former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mehlman traveled to New Hampshire to urge his fellow Republicans to support the freedom to marry for all.  In a January 26 column in the New Hampshire Union Leader, Mehlman called on New Hampshire Republicans “to stand up for individual freedom and liberty, to live by the Golden Rule and to oppose any effort to diminish or strip away individual rights, and to return to the real business of building business, keeping taxes down and growing our economy.”

“With today’s vote it is crystal clear that the momentum toward marriage equality is truly unstoppable,” said AFER Board President Chad Griffin.  “As the courts affirm the freedom to marry for all, so too do the people and their representatives.  The people of New Hampshire, and of this entire nation, see and understand that marriage equality is the most fundamental of human freedoms.”

Read Ken Mehlman’s Union Leader Column >

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About the American Foundation for Equal Rights

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8.  After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans.