On Monday, we reported on our blog that New Hampshire Rep. David Bates (R-Windham) had filed two pieces of legislation that would repeal the state's marriage equality law. Then on Wednesday, House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt told The Associated Press that a repeal of marriage equality would not be on the GOP's agenda this year. Instead, the agenda, to be announced Thursday, will reportedly prioritize job creation and the economy. According to Bettencourt, there's widespread agreement that other issues will have to take a back seat.
Marriage equality legislation was enacted in 2009 and became the law in New Hampshire on January 1, 2010. At the time, Democrats controlled the Legislature. Democratic Gov. John Lynch signed the bill and has since said he will veto any attempts to repeal it.
Bettencourt's' remarks on Wednesday are certainly welcome news to New Hampshire's gay and lesbian couples, as well as Mo Baxley, the executive director of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition. She, too, has said that job creation needs to be the legislators' focus and expressed doubts that the legislature would be able to come up with the required two-thirds majority of votes needed to override a gubernatorial veto.
Currently five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa) and Washington, D.C., legally allow marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Legislatures in Rhode Island and Maryland are expected to debate the issue this year.
GLAAD will continue to monitor the media coverage of marriage equality in New Hampshire and keep you posted on any pertinent updates to the state's 2011 legislative session.