Poll: Opposition to N.H. Marriage Equality Repeal Bill Remains Strong

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Wednesday February 8, 2012

A new poll finds that opposition to a bill that would repeal New Hampshire's marriage equality law remains strong.

The WMUR/University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll that was released late on Tuesday found that 59 percent of respondents oppose House Bill 437. Previous surveys conducted last October and February found that 62 percent of New Hampshire residents oppose any effort to repeal the state's marriage equality law that took effect in Jan. 2010.

"We've now had a full year's worth of polls on the question of repealing our marriage equality law and the result is always the same-voters do not want the Legislature messing with this law," said Craig Stowell, co-chair of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families. "This is not a close call. By a consistent margin of nearly two-to-one, voters are telling legislators to leave this popular law alone and get back to work on the economic challenges of our day."

The House is expected to potentially vote on HB 437 next week. The Republican-controlled state Legislature is expected to pass the measure, but Gov. John Lynch last week once again vowed to veto the bill during his annual State of the State address in Concord. It remains unclear as to whether there are enough votes in both the House and Senate to override the governor's promised veto.

WMUR and UNH released the poll hours after a federal appeals court ruled that California's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The Washington House of Representatives is expected to vote on a marriage equality bill later today, while the New Jersey State Senate is slated to consider a similar measure that would allow nuptials for gays and lesbians in the Garden State on Feb. 13.

"We can debate this issue forever," said Stowell, a Republican from Claremont who has appeared in anti-HB 437 ads with his wife Berta and gay brother Calvin. "If legislators really do what they say-which is to listen to their constituents-they'll stop this effort to turn back the clock and allow all New Hampshire families to be treated equally under the law. It's time to listen to the people of New Hampshire."

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.