Do Granite Staters embrace same-sex marriage? It sure looks that way - 84 responses

Apr 08, 2012

The New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2012 rebuffed efforts to repeal same-sex marriage. But one argument raised by supporters of the repeal holds that, were the matter to go to popular referendum, same-sex marriage would no longer be the law of the land in the Granite State.

While that might be the experience of other states, there’s little evidence to support the claim as it relates to New Hampshire residents. A reading of the opinions expressed by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Live Free or Die Alliance’s Facebook community reveals the vast majority of Granite Staters support same-sex marriage, and even those who don’t specifically express support for it say government has no role in regulating who is legally able to tie the knot.

On March 21, 2012, we asked our Facebook followers, “Should NH (a) keep same-sex marriage, (b) reinstate civil unions for gay couples, or (c) ban all but heterosexual marriage?"

We received 70 responses from 41 individuals (some respondents posted numerous comments, occasionally in back-and-forth exchanges), and 14 concurrences (or "likes," in Facebook parlance). The results of this citizen testimony showed that, of the 41 separate respondents, only one wanted to outlaw any state-sanctioned matrimony not between heterosexual individuals.

In contrast, 20 respondents said the state should keep same-sex marriage, three wanted to return to the days of civil unions between same-sex couples, and the balance of was judged “nonresponsive” to the question, but their feedback overwhelmingly reflected the sentiment of the individual who posted: “I want the government out of marriage period. Any marriage.”

The findings reinforce the response we received from the following Oct. 26, 2011, question: “Less than two years after NH adopted same-sex marriage, the House Judiciary Cmte voted 11-6 to overturn the law. Under the proposal, existing same-sex marriages would be grandfathered in and subsequent ‘civil unions’ would be permitted. The repeal will now be voted on by the entire House in 2012. What do you think about the potential overturn of same-sex marriage in NH?”

In that case, we received 57 responses from 34 individuals, including 7 concurrences. Of the 34, 25 (73.5 percent) expressed sentiments opposing the potential overturn of same-sex marriage, four favored the repeal and eight were deemed nonresponsive (though three of that number expressed the view that government has no role in regulating marriage).

While legislators are informed and impelled by their own perspectives on the issues, the necessity of gauging the public's views is certain. As New Hampshire’s Town Hall, that is the role of the LFDA (www.nhlfda.org). Our community, which is open to all at no cost, is nearly 8,500 strong and is growing daily.

Again, these findings are not scientific, but more akin to citizen testimony, where respondents are (to the greatest extent possible) identifiable by their real names. We cannot predict with certainty how New Hampshire residents would behave in the sanctity of a secret ballot vote on the matter, but the best indication of our data augurs that New Hampshire is likely to keep same-sex marriage legal for the foreseeable future.

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