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N.H. Lawmakers Delay Vote on Marriage Equality Repeal Bill

by Michael K. Lavers
National News Editor
Wednesday Jan 18, 2012
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A leading New Hampshire House Republican has confirmed that a vote on a bill that would repeal the state’s marriage equality law has been delayed until at least next month.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) did not return EDGE’s request for comment late on Tuesday, but he told the Eagle-Tribune that legislators will not vote on House Bill 437 until at least February.

"We must deal with some critical financial and economic-related legislation first, as well as legislative redistricting, prior to any discussion of gay marriage," he told the newspaper. "It’s critical to keep legislative priorities in their proper order."

Lawmakers were expected to vote on the marriage equality repeal bill as early as today, but they are scheduled to debate redistricting and a bill that would ban public funding for abortions.

"The vote [on HB 437] hasn’t been scheduled yet," Shannon Shutts, spokesperson for House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon), told EDGE on Tuesday afternoon. "It’s up to the speaker when it gets scheduled."

A University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll in October found that 62 percent of state residents support the marriage equality law that has been in effect since Jan. 2010. Forty-four percent of respondents said they would consider voting against any legislator who supports HB 437.

Governor John Lynch, who signed the marriage equality law in 2009, has vowed to veto the measure. HB 437 supporters have vowed to override the governor’s veto, but it remains unclear as to whether they have enough votes in both the House and Senate to do so.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.

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