Support marriage equality for all N.H. cCitizens

To the Editor:

Sometime in the middle of our holiday celebrations, the New Hampshire House will be voting on the rights of friends and neighbors to marry their life partners. The Judiciary Committee has reported HB 437 with a recommendation Ought to Pass with Amendment.

HB 437 itself would strip any possibility of legal recognition for same-sex couples who wish to love and care for one another in a life-long bond. Many of these couples will raise children who need the enhanced protections that only marriage of their parents can provide. HB 437 strips legal rights and responsibilities not only from same-sex couples but also from vulnerable children.

Papering-over the cynical treatment of a minority, the Committee recommended an amendment creating "civil unions," whatever that may mean. The committee report claims that the new law would be even better and more expansive than the civil union law that preceded marriage equality. In fact, the law would deny existing legal protections to people who join in civil unions.

Proposed paragraph RSA 457-B:6 states "No individual, corporation, entity, association, educational institution, or society shall be penalized ... in connection with, but not limited to, the application of laws addressing discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations, laws pertaining to licensing, government grants, contracts, or tax-exempt status, ... or for refusing to treat as valid any civil union... ." In other words, members of civil unions lose the public accommodations protections that Granite Staters support.

Marriage equality has worked well for both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples. Confusing the issue with separate-and clearly unequal institutions violates the underlying principles upon which New Hampshire law is based. Vote to maintain equality in the Granite State. Reject HB437.

Mark Secord

Lisbon, N.H.

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