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Joining the fight in New Hampshire

Community/Meta Marriage equality

By Adam Bink

A lot of folks in the comments- here and on other blogs- have wondered why there hasn’t been a lot of writing or chatter from “national groups” or elsewhere about New Hampshire and the prospect of repealing the law that permits same-sex couples to marry. Those conversations have turned into concern that everyone is ignoring this.

But lack of chatter should not be mistaken for being inattentive to a problem. At Courage Campaign, we’ve been paying attention to the issue and making plans since it became clear this might come up. To that end, over the last several weeks, myself, Arisha, Rick, and everyone here have been talking to leading freedom to marry activists on the ground, allied state legislators, and other folks. But while we have been playing it close to the vest (which is also why I’m not writing a great deal about the state of play as I did on, for example, repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”), that doesn’t mean we aren’t ready to generate some action and make sure the freedom to marry stays in place.

So here are the basics, and what Courage plans to do in the state to start with:

  • As State Rep. Chris Serlin wrote in the comments the other day, there is indeed a possibility that anti-equality legislators and their allies will push through legislation to repeal the marriage equality law, even to the point of overriding the governor’s veto (support for which requires 2/3rds of both houses). It will be a tough, but winnable fight. We’d need significant Republican support, but there are many Republicans who voted for the original pro-equality bill and were re-elected to the House, as well as others who voted against a repeal attempt in the past. And, as many a New Hampshire resident like Rep. Serlin will tell you, New Hampshire has a libertarian streak. The polling shows residents are with us. It’s very winnable.
  • But we are taking nothing for granted. Starting this month, Courage Campaign, in partnership with Granite State Progress, will be launching a series of activist trainings in New Hampshire modeled on our successful Camp Courage program. They’re intended to provide allies with a set of tools they can use to engage fellow community members, elected officials, testify with a strong “story of self” that wins hearts and minds, and more. I’ll provide details as we finalize the dates, locations, and other logistics.
  • We will also be asking New Hampshire members of our action network to take action in contacting their representatives, engaging the media, and more.
  • And we’ll be partnering with allied organizations and leading activists on the ground to coordinate work, generate efficiency, and keep our efforts nimble.
  • And that’s just to start.

For those of you who want to help, the best thing you can do (for now) is to give the heads-up to your friends, family, and colleagues in the state. Many of them may not be aware that this is coming up. Make sure they know and to look for ways to help. They may be needed, as Rep. Serlin wrote, to testify in Concord. If they aren’t Courage Campaign members and aren’t signed up to receive our action alerts or notices of Camp Courage trainings, they can sign up at the top right on this page. And there will be some ways outside folks can help, as well.

So to summarize, lack of chatter doesn’t mean lack of action. Rest assured the train is on the tracks and we’re steaming ahead towards doing everything in our power to win this fight. And as we did together on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, I’m looking forward to doing it with everyone here. Onward!


  • 1. Kathleen  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:05 am

    We await your instruction. :)

  • 2. Rhie  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:08 am


  • 3. 415kathleenk  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:11 am

    i have a really close friend who lives in NH and he knows about this- he thinks its possible that we could lose but certainly not a done deal. I hope he and his spouse will get involved.

  • 4. Ann S.  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:18 am


  • 5. Lesbians Love Boies  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:27 am


  • 6. Sagesse  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Good to see the marriage equality folks (CC included) are gathering and using intelligence, instead of just quoting raw numbers the way the media (and the other side) does. This is not just a matter of counting heads. The problem will be the New York situation… as soon as it became evident that marriage equality wasn't going to pass, supporters dropped away. Why antagonize voters in a losing cause?

  • 7. Cass  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Don't forget another state with a strong libertarian streak: Rep. Owen Peterson and Sen. Curt Meier have promised to introduce a bill to ask voters to change the Wyoming state constitution to prevent same sex marriage (its already illegal). A similar bill failed in 2009, but the composition of the legislature changed quite a bit in November….

  • 8. Ronnie  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Exclusive: New Hampshire's leading 'protect marriage' group pushing gay 'cures'

    Cornerstone Policy Research (NH's so called "pro-family" group) has updated their website

    "This is not about politics. Not about referenda or court battles. Not about "protecting marriage," like Cornerstone and their allies at the National Organization For Marriage always claim. What this shows, with 100% certainty, is that the group that's most prominently, most vocally hoping to reshape the marriage debate in the Live Free or Die State is also hoping to reshape gay people's very cores of existence in ways that fly in the face of ALL credible science."

    (me) as Jeremy points out….."Four of the six of the above links" on their website under "Homosexual Issues" are widely discredited "ex-gay" faux science organizations…..

    Still wondering what NOM, FRC, etc. etc. are planning for New Hampshire?….. : I …..Ronnie

  • 9. Ed  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:58 am

    thank you ronnie, for bringing this to attention

  • 10. grod  |  January 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

    @adam: lack of chatter is not inaction
    Is there not a danger in Courage being perceived as outsiders, as CC has accused NOM of being? I'm confident that you have considered involving all the New England states, including Maine in this project. At this juncture these states have the collective experience of leading the nation. And don’t forget Maine's experience that 'polls' tending to overstate support.
    This brings me to a thought I had on Jan 3, when you asked ‘what would you like to see Courage and focus on in the New Year. I think a focus and challenge ought to be a moniker that bridges this site’s original name and purpose to something more expansive and capable of drawing an even wider engaged and engaging audience. G
    You have a proven track record and are on the right track.

  • 11. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

    -Winston Churchill

  • 12. Bob  |  January 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I like it,,, "rest assured the train is on the tracks " woot woot or maybe toot toot to everyone in NH….

  • 13. JonT  |  January 5, 2011 at 10:58 am


    Erm ,Quad. :)

  • 14. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Will reply in more detail later.

  • 15. Bill  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Remind these "fiscal conservatives" over the dearth of lengthy and costly lawsuits the state will be hit with should this law be repealed. I hope they're stupid enough to try to annul previous marriages, thus making it an illegal ex-post-facto law.

  • 16. Straight Ally #3008  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Train? It's a steamroller!

  • 17. adambink  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Go team!

  • 18. adambink  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Yes, it's a problem. Ultimately resources are valuable and needed, and there are ways of threading that needle to address both needs. Camp Courage is one way.

  • 19. Straight For Equalit  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:54 am

    As a New Hampshire resident, I won't sit silently by while they try to push this through. I await the call for action!

  • 20. Sagesse  |  January 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Check out the caption under the photo of Brian Brown (giggle) (smirk)

    New Hampshire's Year-Old Gay Marriage Law Under Threat…

  • 21. Ann S.  |  January 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm


  • 22. Sam  |  January 5, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    The only person I know in New Hampshire is Scott Herman from MTV's Real World so I left him a message on his Facebook page. He has responded to me that he will look into it. So glad we have a strong ally like Scott Herman.

  • 23. Sam  |  January 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Here is my wall post.

  • 24. Bill J.  |  January 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Family News in Focus treated NH's battle in depth on it's daily news program. It's worth a listen to get a sense of how the other side is playing it.

    On a more positive note, the new republican governor (technically an ex-republican) of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, pledged to get marriage equality in that state ASAP. It was item #2 in his list of priorities in his inaugural address, and he couched it in terms of being absolutely necessary to grow jobs and the economy in Rhode Island.

  • 25. Kathleen  |  January 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm


  • 26. Kathleen  |  January 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Nicely done, Sam!

  • 27. Mandi  |  January 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm


  • 28. Michael  |  January 5, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Don't make the mistakes made in Maine and here in California where we allowed the anti-equality crowd to frame the debate. We already know all their arguments–marriage equality will harm children in schools and harm churches. In both states, they used the same commercials about same-sex marriage being taught to children in school. WE need to be the ones out to PROTECT marriage. Let them know from the beginning: "Leave Marriage Alone!" If we don't head 'em off at the pass and squash these arguments before they get started, we lose again.

  • 29. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  January 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Often I feel sympathy toward those who are ignorant but when I saw BB's "beauty queen" face from the article I just want to shout and punch him!! Leave us alone Bastard Brown!!! Why in the hell would you spend over $400,000 to hurt families!? Grrrrrrrrrrr!

    Same goes for Leo Pepino:
    “I think we have the votes (to repeal),” Rep. Leo Pepino, a Manchester Republican, recently said. “We have a lot of really good conservatives and a good conservative doesn't believe in gay marriage. … It's a matter of ethics.”

  • 30. Sagesse  |  January 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Two lesbian priests in Massachusetts exercising their religious freedom.

    Say what? Lesbian priests marrying each other!

    Here you have the Episcopalian church which is accepting of LGBT people, ordains them as clergy, and lets their LGBT clergy marry. (Isn't bishop Gene Robinson married as well?) .

  • 31. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  January 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    : D Yay! I needed that article! Woot! Thanks Sagesse!

    In case anyone missed it, Kathleen provided this gem:

  • 32. BK  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for having an article on this! Glad to find some discussion. This could be an extremely important occasion. :)

  • 33. Tyler  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Is it safe to say that all the Dems that voted against the marriage bill were voted out in November and the only Dems left are ones that are supporters?

  • 34. anonygrl  |  January 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    I find HUGE differences between one organization that comes in from out of state and with lots of money and slick advertising attempts to sway voters to what that organization thinks the law should be, and another that comes in from out of state and offers to help concerned citizens of that state by showing them effective ways to raise their own voices to express their own beliefs.

    Camp Courage is a marvelous thing!

  • 35. anonygrl  |  January 6, 2011 at 12:07 am…

    Did we see this? Lincoln Chafee being good to his word and getting right on things in Rhode Island!

  • 36. anonygrl  |  January 6, 2011 at 12:09 am

    That is brilliant! The Federal Government is moving in t he right direction, even though it is in fits and starts!

    That they are acknowledging different types of families is wonderful! Thanks fors sharing!


  • 37. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  January 6, 2011 at 12:15 am

    good article : ) liked this part too:
    "On Wednesday, Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline was sworn in, becoming the fourth openly gay member of Congress." Woot!

  • 38. Sagesse  |  January 6, 2011 at 1:19 am

    I hate to use this argument… it sounds like kids squabbling in the sandbox… but it is also relevant that 'they started it'.

    Nationally funded outside groups bring big money to bear against a local minority. The only way to fight back is to accept resources (money and effort) from outside supporters. Don't know how you square that with a legitimate feeling that 'we don't like outsiders messing in our business."

  • 39. adambink  |  January 6, 2011 at 3:49 am


  • 40. Manilow  |  January 6, 2011 at 4:54 am

    I have a friend who is a reporter for a newspaper in NH. I will find out what she can do without jeopardizing her job.

  • 41. grod  |  January 6, 2011 at 4:55 am

    @Sagesse Amusing.
    I know you followed the Prop 8 appeal court hearing. Do you recall the discussion about whether a right once acknowledged, can be withdrawn. If Prop 8 gets determined on its merits, it may well pivot on that point. The California Supreme court did not take away a right of those who were married prior to the Nov vote.

    Should NH legislature withdrawn a right to marry, it will need to determine what it does with those who are married, as well as those whose marriage from elsewhere it recognized.

    A Catch 22 which will then be played out between the legislature and the state court and then that court and the federal court.

    You will recall in Canada the Harper government on being elected brought forward a motion to revisit the SSM legislation. It was defeated. After Massachusetts passed its legislation there was much talk about finding ways to reverse it. It did not materialize.

    Why would NH legislators open a can of worms that it could not close? Can can not win?

  • 42. Rhie  |  January 6, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Exactly! Never accept the premise of the opposition, and answer on their terms. You will ALWAYS lose that way.

  • 43. Rhie  |  January 6, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Ah. I thought that too – that the BlueDogs were mostly the victims of the backlash. Curious, do you have any more information on the elections and who was voted out that voted for equality measures, etc?

  • 44. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Also, unless I am mistaken, there was another Episcopalian exercising freedom of religion–the bishop who officiated their wedding! And yes, Bishop Robinson is married.

  • 45. Kathlene O'Loug  |  January 6, 2011 at 7:52 pm

  • 46. Rhie  |  January 7, 2011 at 6:55 am


  • 47. Michael Ejercito  |  January 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

    New Hampshire is not California, let alone Texas or Utah.

    The pro-marriage side is very likely to lose.

  • 48. Ronnie  |  January 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

    No not really Fascist….. 8 / …..Ronnie

  • 49. Ronnie  |  January 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Hmmmmmm….on second thought….Ejercito…..if your vague use of words means anti-gay= "pro"-marriage side (i.e. NOM) then yes you are right….YOU WILL LOSE!!!!!…..

    If your vague use of words means pro-Equality/LGBT/Freedom = pro-marriage (which the Equality side is pro-marriage)…then you are wrong….WE WILL NOT LOSE….well unless your repugnant side tries to attack our families, children, teens & relationships w/demeaning & offensive rhetoric & homophobic talking points like you did in every other state that you destroyed marriage & innocent lives in….but you know go for it…more law suits…..I dare you. Mr. Realtor from California not New Hampshire….got it?….pfffft…..all of that is rhetorical…that means don't respond……Happy New Year…. 8 / …..Ronnie

  • 50. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 9, 2011 at 6:03 am

    And if by pro-marriage, you mean us, then, unfortunately, due to the Repgunican takeover in New Hampshire, then we probably would have lost, in previous days. But you see, thanks to this site, those of us who are pro marriage have learned how to work together, how to call, email, snail mail, and all the rest, so that equality and justice spread across the US. And we are not going to stop now. What you are forgetting is this. Just because we are allowed to get married LEGALLY and have CIVIL recognition in the SECULAR government, does not mean that you will not be allowed to get married. It does not mean that your marriage will suddenly be dissolved. It just means that more people will be allowed to enter into REAL marriages, SOLID marriages based on love and commitment, rather than entering into sham marriages.

  • 51. Michael Ejercito  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:42 am

    By pro-marriage I mean people who want to preserve the definition of marriage as used by Western civilization for the past few centuries, the definition used in A Law Dictionary Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States by John Bouvier.

    Republicans in New Hampshire are not as socially conservative as those in Oregon, let alone Texas.

  • 52. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Wrong Ejercito….Pro-Marriage = One Man – One Man, One Man – One Woman, One Woman – One Woman…. Pro-Marriage = Equality……you are DESTROYING Marriage……Homophobic, Fascist, un-American TROLL!!!!!! …….. > I …..Ronnie

  • 53. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Wrong Ejercito. Under your definition, you are denying equal protection and due process to people you don't agree with. And why do you hate us so much? Is it because unlike you, we refuse to lie to ourselves and everyone around us about who we are and who we love? Do you hate us because we are honest? Do you hate us because we are happy? Do you hate us because we know the true value of commitment? Do you hate us because unlike you, we can see past the sexual fantasies of all the repressed homosexuals who think our lives are nothing but one big orgy? Do you hate us for being real? If that is the case, then maybe you need to go ahead and come out of the closet while you can still do so without a major scandal becoming part of your life. Because if you continue the way you are going, that is exactly what will happen, and then your little fantasy kingdom will be shattered. Just ask Senator Roy Ashburn. Just ask George Rekers. Ask any of the men who have been just as virulently anti-equality as you are what has happened when they were caought with their pants down.

  • 54. Michael Ejercito  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Under your definition, you are denying equal protection and due process to people you don’t agree with.

    Was there a popular consensus in 1868 that the definition of marriage violated due process or equal protection?

  • 55. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Ejercito = Obvious Troll is obvious….Question – Answer …..not Question – Question…..MAUDE!!!! …… 8 / …Ronnie

  • 56. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:26 am

    You really need to update your education. If you want to live in the 19th century, find yourself a time machine and go back there. It is just so hard to understand why you cannot accept that your personal view of morality has nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution and our system of CIVIL law in this country. And by trying to codify your own personal beliefs into the law you are also trampling upon my religious freedom and the religious freedom of my husband who is a Lubavitcher rabbi. You are also trampling upon everyone else's rights just so that you can feel superior to us. Now, go back to your homework and let your mom and dad have the computer back. After all, don't most of the middle schools in this country have their final exams for the semester coming up soon? Like this week?

  • 57. Michael Ejercito  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:31 am

    You really need to update your education. If you want to live in the 19th century, find yourself a time machine and go back there. It is just so hard to understand why you cannot accept that your personal view of morality has nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution and our system of CIVIL law in this country.

    Let me quote a Supreme Court ruling, Ex Parte Bain

    It is never to be forgotten that, in the construction of the language of the Constitution here relied on, as indeed in all other instances where construction becomes necessary, we are to place ourselves as nearly as possible in the condition of the men who framed that instrument.

  • 58. fiona64  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Dear Trollboy:

    You might want to update your jailhouse lawyer education:

    You're welcome.

    Now, go away.

  • 59. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Irrelevant…Ejerctio…..take a civics a class….oh & use your own words if you are capable of speaking for yourself….be a leader not a follower….just saying… baaaaaaaahhhhh…bahhhhhhhh…. answer the Q's, silence of the lamb… 8 / ….Ronnie

  • 60. Michael Ejercito  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:40 am

    More news from Texas.

    An appellate court ruled today that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott may not intervene in a Travis County same-sex divorce case, a finding that lets stand for now the divorce of two women who were married out of state but does not affect Texas’ ban on gay marriage.

  • 61. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:40 am

    And you, Mr. Ejercito are also forgetting that the Constitution was written in such a way that it could adapt and keep pace with the times, and could cover situations that our Founding Fathers and Founding Mothers could not grasp at the time. You on the other hand, only wish to parrot what you have heard from being kept away from the real world. You only want to parrot what was spoon fed to you, and you have never made any attempt to actually open your mind and look at people for who they are. You have never once attempted to have any real dialogue here, nor have you tried to learn anything at all from any of us. You have not tried to learn anything about us. All you have every tried to do here is tear everyone down simply because we do not agree with your very limited world view. You have had nothing of any value to contribute to this discussion, so why don't you just go back to class and let the adults talk? It is no wonder that your real estate business is dead. You never spend any time showing homes to people. But then, it is rather hard to take people out on home viewings when they can't stand you. And they can't stand you because they see you for the liar and the cheat that you so obviously are.

  • 62. Michael Ejercito  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:43 am


    How is the Supreme Court decision in Ex Parte Bain , which in part lays down rules for constitutional construction, irrelevant?

    It is never to be forgotten that, in the construction of the language of the Constitution here relied on, as indeed in all other instances where construction becomes necessary, we are to place ourselves as nearly as possible in the condition of the men who framed that instrument.

  • 63. Michael Ejercito  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:44 am

    And you, Mr. Ejercito are also forgetting that the Constitution was written in such a way that it could adapt and keep pace with the times, and could cover situations that our Founding Fathers and Founding Mothers could not grasp at the time.

    Indeed it was.

    It is called Article V.

  • 64. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Wow….repeat yourself much?…. XP …..Ronnie

  • 65. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Take a civics class & maybe you will be able to understand….good day infant…I said good day….. XP ….Ronnie

  • 66. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Actually…… irrelevant = none of what you posted is relevant to the queries put fourth in the quondam postings….your retorts are incendiary at best & append naught to the confabulation initiated by Richard A. Jernigan…like I rejoined above……Question-Answer….. not… Question-Question… please go back to school, maybe take some "manners" classes so that you may acquire a knowledge of proper riposte to a formal query….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!….. ; ) …Ronnie

  • 67. Coming out swinging in Rh&hellip  |  January 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

    […] As in New Hampshire, rest assured we’re keeping a close eye on things and finding constructive ways we can help. Of course, NOM will have to compete with one part of the calvary: The NOM-RI ad began airing on the same day that Marriage Equality-RI plans an event at the State House, to deliver “thousands of postcards” supporting same-sex marriage to lawmakers as they arrive for 4 p.m. House and Senate sessions. […]

  • 68. Join us for Camp Courage &hellip  |  January 20, 2011 at 8:22 am

    […] few weeks ago I wrote about our efforts taking off in New Hampshire to protect the freedom to marry for same-sex […]

  • 69. Elektrische Zahnbuerste&hellip  |  November 19, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    … [Trackback]…

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