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We'll Have A Gay Old Time

Well, at the stroke of midnight yesterday (if you'll pardon the expression), civil unions became law here in New Hampshire. 23 couples plighted their troths (or as nearabout as is legal) at the State House in Concord. And, astonishingly, there was no plague of frogs and no one turned into a pillar of salt.

I have to say I'm rather proud of this accomplishment. Other states and jurisdictions have dabbled in it, but they've all had it blow up in their faces.

In Vermont, the legislature passed a civil union bill. But the people were so rip-shit over it, they promptly tossed out most of the backers of the measure, and turned the state government Republican with the express mandate of undoing the law.

In two cities, mayors decided to make their own laws and started issuing marriage licenses willy-nilly to every Adam and Steve, Madam and Eve. And then got thumped by higher authorities.

And then there's Massachusetts. Massachusetts, where the Supreme Judicial Court told the legislature that if they didn't make some law regarding gay marriage, they would -- and then did, making it legal by a vote of 4-3. Then the legislature got all worked up and did... nothing. Then the people got angry at such a major matter being decided by four unelected people in a way that seemed grossly improper (if not outright illegal) and started pushing for a chance for a state-wide referendum on the question.

That's when the legislature found some backbone. They then did everything they could within the law -- and without it -- and repeatedly killed the ballot question. Unfortunately, while the state Constitution is clear that the legislature had a legal obligation to authorize the ballot question, there was no enforcement clause -- they could simply refuse and there wasn't a goddamned thing anyone could do about it short of tossing out the legislators in the next election.

Nope, leave it to New Hampshire to show the rest of the nation how it's done.

OK, it wasn't exactly an ideal demonstration. Very few of the backers of the civil union law ran for election on that issue. Hardly anyone expected that civil unions would be a top priority of the newly-Democratic legislature, but it was -- kind of like how Bill Clinton made "gays in the military" one of his top priorities right after he first came to office.

But we have a way to deal with that. Those lawmakers who pushed for the civil unions are up for re-election next November, and they can't hide from their record. If enough New Hampshirites are annoyed at them, those legislators (and our governor, who signed the bill into law) will be looking for something else to do in their free time next year.

I don't think it will happen that way. I think that civil unions are here to stay in New Hampshire. It fits in with our "mind your own business" mentality. As long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses, we don't want to know what you do in private. And if civil unions are the price of keeping the gays from demonstrating in public like they do in San Francisco (I think the weather might be a factor, too -- the season for public nudity is considerably shorter, and cold has rather unattractive effects on even the most flamboyant gay man), then it's a small price to pay.

And in a few years, once civil unions have proven to be no big deal, we might even see legalized gay marriage here in New Hampshire. And that would be just fine with me.


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Comments (13)

Civil Unions yes...marriage... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Civil Unions yes...marriage - NEVER!

Why do I have the suspicion... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Why do I have the suspicion that it will be considered constitutional for the NH legislature to pass a law enabling same-sex unions while mysteriously unconstitutional for them to pass a law removing same-sex unions?

Nah, that's crazy talk.

Knowledge is power. For the... (Below threshold)

Knowledge is power. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & creates an interesting spin on the issue: www.OUTTAKEonline.com
The truth will set them free...

If New Hampshire was truly ... (Below threshold)
Matt:

If New Hampshire was truly laudatory and innovative, the legislature could of simply repealed the law requiring the State of New Hampshire to authorize people to marry. Get the states out of the marriage business, and the whole question of gay marriage, marriage and civil unions goes away.

It fits in with our "mind your own business" mentality.

It's nobody's business if 2... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

It's nobody's business if 2 guys and a woman want to be married together as a threesome, right?

I have been saying for year... (Below threshold)
Rich:

I have been saying for years. Marriage is a religious contract with God. Civil Unions a contract with goverments. Most religions do not condone homosexuality so let them keep marriage. Civil Unions don't care about sexuality so the homosexual crowd can have those and the same benefits as the married people.

The real problem is all the... (Below threshold)
epador:

The real problem is all the uncivil unions. When they gonna do something about that?

RE: "And, astonishingly, th... (Below threshold)
kevino:

RE: "And, astonishingly, there was no plague of frogs and no one turned into a pillar of salt."

The ultimate plaque is coming for the entire country: President Hillary Rotten Clinton.

Actually marriage has a lon... (Below threshold)

Actually marriage has a long history of social recognition without respect to varying religious traditions.

I have no objection to "civil unions" as long as they don't create some benefit the taxpayer is then expected to fund. My own "mind your own business mentality" begins with keeping your hands off of my wallet.

If New Hampshire was tru... (Below threshold)

If New Hampshire was truly laudatory and innovative, the legislature could of simply repealed the law requiring the State of New Hampshire to authorize people to marry. Get the states out of the marriage business, and the whole question of gay marriage, marriage and civil unions goes away.

Wow, someone who has the same idea that I do. I personally do not care if you join with one man, one woman, 2 men and a goat, whatever, just as long as you don't try to force me to bestow some illusory divine approval by calling your joining a marriage. As far as I'm concerned "marriage" is a religious contract between a man, a woman, and their diety of choice in regards to the generation and raising of children.

what we have in the US is more a civil contract regarding the sharing of the assets and skills of two or more theoretically adult individuals who are obtaining tax and welfare provisions through a government recognition of their decision to join.

So, since we aren't going th have marriage be about the children (and the only reason for government to support marriage is to support the creation of nuclear families for the creation and raising of the next generation) then why don't we have the government get out of the marriage business completely. It solves this whole problem without having to redefine concepts that have served moral men and women since the dawn of time.

As Jim Addison said I don't... (Below threshold)

As Jim Addison said I don't mind civil unions provided I don't have to pay for it. He mentioned tax supported benefits, but if I as an employer want to treat a married couple different from a homosexual union than it is my business.

Somehow I doubt that that's the case under this NH law, but I could be wrong.

When you allow for one set ... (Below threshold)
Steve:

When you allow for one set of rules like civil unions and the like, you might as well toss out the rule book and let anything go. This country was and still is as far as I am concerned, based on Judeo/Christian values. Once you start making concessions for one set of "normal" life style, anything will go. I am sorry, but I am with God on this one. Plus, having it rammed down our throats from the State instead of having the people vote on it, should be unconstitutional. Hope those backers enjoyed there stay, cause as far as I am concerned, I'll be using my Constitutional right to vote them down the road come next election.

Opposing civil unions has a... (Below threshold)
Eric F:

Opposing civil unions has absolutely nothing to do with immediate consequences and everything to do with long-term ones.




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