125,000 people across the US have called on New Hampshire’s legislature to keep the state’s equal marriage laws in a vote tomorrow, signing a petition started by marine who wants to be best man at his brother’s wedding.
Craig Stowell, a married marine, said he started the Change.org petition to lobby lawmakers to protect the marriage laws for his brother, who, he said, finally felt accepted under the law.
State Representative David Bates would like to see the equal marriage law revoked and the state revert to the civil unions law it had in place before it gave couples equal marriage rights. Gay marriages entered into before the law’s repeal would be unaffected.
House debate on the bill was delayed to give legislators time to focus on the economy, it was reported last year.
Mr Stowell, who is the Republican Co-Chair of the group Standing Up For New Hampshire Families, said of the petition to the Granite State’s legislature: “I started this campaign for one simple reason, so that my brother and best friend, Calvin, can have the freedom to marry the person he loves.
“We only have days left to ensure that this mean-spirited attack does not deny thousands of Granite State residents the ability to protect and provide for their families.”
“An overwhelming majority of New Hampshire voters of all political backgrounds agree that it’s time for Concord to start focusing on the economy and jobs, and stop the blind-sided attacks on hard-working, committed families.”
Introducing the letter, Mr Stowell writes: “When I enlisted in the Marines, I took an oath to defend freedom and liberty. In 2004, I went to Iraq to do just that [...] I am now defending my brother’s freedom here at home, and I hope you will help me by telling legislators to vote NO on HB 437.”
He adds: “When my wife Berta and I were married, Calvin was right there by my side as my best man. I want the opportunity to be his best man when he finds the person he wants to marry. With your help, I know we can ensure that freedom will still be there when he does.”
Mark Anthony Dingbaum, campaign manager at Change.org said: “Craig’s campaign has resonated not only with thousands of New Hampshire residents, but with more than 120,000 people across the country.
“Craig won’t stop defending his brother, and his campaign is inspiring thousands of others to stand up for the people they love as well.”
Democratic Governor John Lynch has said he will veto any repeal bill which comes before him from the legislature.
If the bill passes tomorrow at the House of Representatives, in which the Republicans have a 74 percent majority, it will go to the state’s Senate where the party has 19 of the 24 seats.
In order to override the Governor’s veto, there must be a majority of more than two-thirds in the chamber.
Tyler Deaton, a lobbyist for Standing Up For New Hampshire Families, told a press conference he was “optimistic” support could be found in both houses to sustain a governor’s veto.