CONCORD, N.H. — Gay rights advocates are declaring victory after New Hampshire’s failed attempt at repealing its gay marriage law, saying it resounds in a region where opponents have concentrated efforts to reverse momentum.
The state House voted Wednesday to kill the measure, ending a push by its new Republican majority to rescind New Hampshire’s 2-year-old law. Nevertheless, both sides are pledging to continue fighting into the fall elections.
“Today is a banner day for the freedom to marry,” said Craig Stowell, co-chairman of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families. Stowell said the House, where Republicans hold a 189-seat advantage, was supposed to give conservatives their best shot at repeal.
“They blew it,” he said. “This was supposed to be the most favorable legislative climate for repeal and they couldn’t even get a majority.”
The National Organization for Marriage has pledged to spend $250,000 to help lawmakers running for re-election who support repealing the law. On the other side, the New Hampshire Republicans of Freedom and Equality PAC is raising money to back Republicans who vote to retain it.
The Republican-backed bill called for repealing gay marriage in March 2013 and replacing it with a civil unions law that had been in place in 2008 and 2009. Same-sex marriages occurring before the repeal took effect would have remained valid, but future gay unions would have been civil unions.
The bill also would have allowed voters to weigh in on the issue through a nonbinding November ballot question.
If the House passed the repeal measure following its two hours of debate, it would have gone to the Senate; both houses are controlled by Republicans. Democratic Gov. John Lynch had promised to veto the bill in any case. The House vote was 211-116.
Tom Czapieo, 63, of Keene, watched the House debate from the gallery with his partner, Mike Bellrose, 61. Czapieo said he was surprised and thrilled by the vote, even though
This article originally appeared on: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/21/4357505/gay-marriage-advocates-declare.html