Tuesday, 04 May 2010

NH Gov. Defends Gay Marriage 'Legacy.'

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New Hampshire Governor John Lynch said he is proud of having signed the state's same-sex marriage law last year and will fight any effort by "the forces of discrimination and division" to repeal it.

The Hopkinton Democrat, who recently announced he will be seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive two-year term this year as the state's Governor, has been targeted for defeat by the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage. NOM recently ran "Lynch Lied" ads on New Hampshire TV stations, reminding voters that Lynch had said he was opposed to "gay" marriage before he changed course and signed the bill. The ad also claimed "Lynch lied to us" about not raising business taxes, cutting spending, and balancing the budget. Speaking to reporters after a recent Executive Council meeting, Lynch called the ads "disgusting" and knocked the out-of-state group for "meddling" in New Hampshire politics.

Nhpoliticalreport.com reported Friday that when speaking to supporters recently the Governor drew the biggest applause when he reiterated his support for the same-sex marriage law and denounced what he said was the agenda of N0M: "First, to repeal New Hampshire's marriage law and second, to make an example of me to other Governors." Lynch said that in signing the bill, he did "what was right and necessary in protecting New Hampshire's long tradition of protecting individual rights and civil liberties. It is a legacy I am proud to uphold. And I am not going to allow the forces of discrimination and division to take us back," he said, as his supporters stood and cheered. 

Lynch signed a civil union law for same-sex couples in 2007, but said he remained opposed to same-sex marriage. "I do not support gay marriage and New Hampshire law today prohibits gay marriage," he said at the time. But last year when the marriage law was making its way through the Legislature, Lynch did not say whether he would sign or veto it until it had passed both houses. When he signed it, New Hampshire became the sixth state to grant marriage status to same-sex unions. In neighboring Maine, however, voters repealed that state's new marriage law by referendum last November. An effort to repeal New Hampshire's law by amending the state's constitution — requiring a two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature and a two-thirds vote of the people — was defeated in the House early this year. Same-sex marriage has been rejected in all 31 states that have had referenda on the issue.

Cornerstone Action, a New Hampshire conservative group that worked with the National Organization for Marriage last year to oppose the law, has promised to remind voters this year of Lynch's about-face on the issue, as well as which legislators voted in favor of same-sex marriage. "If John Lynch wants to make his re-election into a referendum on gay marriage, I say bring it on," said executive director Kevin Smith, who called Lynch "disingenuous" when he said he was against it. "Further, the fact that this issue would bring about the longest applause from his supporters just goes to show how far out of the mainstream Governor Lynch and his radical supporters are," Smith said.

 Photo of Governor John Lynch: AP Images