Commentary by Timothy Horrigan; July 31, 2010
I am wondering if this really needs to be done, but I am collecting a few YouTube videos related to some House Republicans ' attempts to kill marriage equality. They introduced two repeal measures even before the marriage equality laws took effect on January 1, 2010. These measures failed big-time, by almost a 2-1 margin after about a third of the Republican caucus, moderates and rightwingers alike, crossed over and voted with the Democrats.
David Bates (R-Windham) & Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry); January 20, 2010
The hearings were on the first
President Obama's inauguration. I disagree with David Bates and
Al Baldasaro on some issues, but both of them are my friends, and I
do work with them on many other issues. (We share interests in family
law, personal liberty and home schooling.) The extraordinarily
patient off-camera chairperson heard (but not seen) in this clip is one
of my fellow Strafford County #7 reps, the awesome Janet Wall.
Original URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPiJgcV-EFY
Al, in particular, embarassed himself this day, although as usual he bounced back quickly (and he did apologize.) There was a kernel of truth in one of his statements: babies are indeed being taken away from their birth families by the government for adoption by strangers. I do not want to use the verb "sell" because the babies are not being explicitly exchanged for $10,000 or any other specific price— but there is some troubling stuff going on. Rep. Baldasaro did choose the wrong venue to bring up this issue, since it's not just gay couples who are receiving the babies and since this had nothing much to do with the topic at hand.
In all fairness, I should point out
that a few months I later was involved in another videotaped fiasco,
alongside Al: we both appeared in April on the video of the House Address 3 hearings.
To put David Bates's comments in a little
more perspective, he wanted to have a statewide referendum on gay
marriage. Personally, I may be a big-D Democrat but I am also a
small-r republican; I agree with the cliché "America is a
republic, not a democracy." I don't think the majority should be
able to vote away a minority's rights. I also don't believe in
government by referendum (and I am glad New Hampshire is not a
referendum state.) Votes did end up being held in March 2010 in many towns
during their annual town meetings (including Lee, which is in my district.) In most towns marriage equality won
handily: in Lee, for example, marriage equality won 114-29.
Nancy Elliott (R-Merrimack); February 9-11, 2010
Republican state rep Nancy Elliott became legendary for her outburst during an executive session on February 9, 2010, when she began gibbering incoherently about penises being wriggled around in excrement and anal sex being taught in the Nashua public schools. The video went viral.
She followed up her outburst by writing an obscene blurb for the next weekly House Calendar. She agreed to revise it — but the end product, albeit not obscene, is still the stuff of legend:
Rep. Nancy J. Elliott for the Minority of Judiciary: The minority believes that last year the legislature made a mistake passing gay marriage. Legislators ignored the voice of the citizens of New Hampshire to attend to the desires of special interest activists. These activists would have us believe that heterosexual marriage and gay marriage are the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The consummation of gay marriage cannot even be spoken of in polite society and a gay marriage is not valid without it. We have said that this new group of people are married because of these practices. This new marriage has nothing to do with fairness as two people that love each other but do not consummate, cannot be married. To the minority this is confusion and should not have been placed into law. The minority believes that it is time to recognize the error that was made and pass HB 1590 to repeal gay marriage.
I like how she says that "[t]he consummation of gay marriage cannot even be spoken of in polite society" while she herself keeps on speaking of it: I am inferring she considers the New Hampshire General Court to be impolite society. (By the way, physical "consummation" is not in fact a legal requirement for marriage in New Hampshire or anywhere else. It is however, still a legal requirement in New Hampshire for a fault divorce on the grounds of adultery.)
After inserting her blurb into the weekly Calendar and wiggling it around, she did something which pleasantly surprised me: she apologized and she shut up. She didn't go on FoxNews, she didn't make a martyr of herself, she didn't make a fuss, she didn't complain about "political correctness": she simply shut up and went away. She isn't even running for re-election.
Original URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha7NJE7GJr8
(The Young Turks also later made a video mocking Jenna Bush which I have embedded on this site.)
Original URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bWfYSXX2Tk
Original URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB8eyr0mW0o
(The statement about the Nashua schools is totally false; and no one came forward to even partially corroborate it. This video is a quarter of the Judiciary Committee's executive session.)