NOM defends possible gay-marriage repeal in New York citing delayed repeal in New Hampshire
In recent media appearances, National Organization for Marriage (NOM) board chair Maggie Gallagher has countered the suggestion that NOM might not be able to reverse the recent legalization of gay marriage in New York with two words: New Hampshire.
As Gallagher told the National Review Online last month, “NOM’s next immediate challenge is to get a vote reversing gay marriage in New Hampshire – to show once again, as we did in Maine, that history is not unidirectional.”
Just this week, Gallagher was on the Christian Broadcast Network answering questions about New York’s inaugural same-sex weddings held on Sunday.
“It appears now that the camel no longer has his nose in the tent; he’s knocked the tent down,” the host told Gallagher. “Do you really hold out hope in your organization that you’re going to be able to stem the tide? We’re not talking about public opinion, but stem the tide of legislatures around the country that are voting to approve?”
Gallagher defended NOM’s capabilities and blamed the mainstream media for perpetuating the notion that same-sex marriage is slowly becoming a reality, state by state:
“The message of despair is their chief talking point. We reversed gay marriage in California; we reversed it in Maine. New Hampshire is gonna vote to reverse gay marriage in January, I would predict,” Gallagher said. “We’ve won amazing victories. The trouble is that the press doesn’t report them, so people get the wrong message about how possible it is to reverse same-sex marriage.”
The New Hampshire Legislature was supposed to vote this year on a repeal of a bill that legalized same-sex marriage in June 2009; however, the measure was postponed until 2012, with lawmakers citing the controversial nature of the issue and the state Legislature’s focus on fiscal matters as reasons for delay.
As with NOM’s current targeting of New York Republicans who voted to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry -– Gallagher told CBN “it’s gonna be a bloody mess in New York” -– New Hampshire Republicans have also been attacked this year.
In January, the Associated Press reported that after decision was made to postpone the repeal, NOM sent New Hampshire House Republican leader Rep. D.J. Bettencourt (Salem) a direct mailer saying Bettencourt did not support traditional family values. NOM’s original promise to try to help overturn Democratic Gov. John Lynch in 2010 — with the help of a $200,000 “Lynch Lied” ad campaign — also came up short.
Despite the looming threat to remove legal marriage rights from gay couples in the Granite State, pro-marriage equality organizations do not appear to be worried.
New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Executive Director Mo Baxley recently told the Associated Press she did not think lawmakers had the votes to overturn a promised veto from Gov. Lynch.
“We’ve had marriage equality for a couple years now,” she told AP. “The sky didn’t fall. All those horrible things they said were going to happen didn’t happen. To undo and take it away this would create a mess.”
The proposed repeal bill would only affect couples that wanted to marry in the future and would not revoke current, already-obtained marriage licenses.
Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Kevin Nix said NOM is out of step with public opinion in New Hampshire. He pointed to a WMUR Granite State Poll released earlier this year revealing that 62 percent of New Hampshire adults opposed repealing the marriage equality law.
“One of the reasons for that number is that New Hampshire’s motto is ‘Live Free or Die,’” Nix told The American Independent. “They don’t want to take rights from committed couples and families.”
The Eagle Tribune recently reported that even though the state has seen a 71-percent increase in same-sex couples since 2000 — from 2,703 to 4,635 — the legalization of gay marriage and civil unions is not responsible for the Census-reported increases. Rather, the more likely reason for the increase is that people are more willing to admit to being in a same-sex relationship, the paper reported.