A bill that would have rescinded same-sex marriage in New Hampshire was overwhelmingly defeated by the state's House of Representatives on Wednesday (21 March) by a vote of 211-116.
Republican Rep. David Bates introduced the legislation to end the state's two-year-old gay marriage law and replace it with civil unions. Bates was also unsuccessful in his effort to bring a referendum that would have put the issue before voters.
The vote followed two hours of debate and several Republicans crossed party lines to vote with Democrats against the measure.
'Let’s put this dog down, like it deserves to be,' Rep. Mike Ball said during the debate.
Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who signed marriage into law in 2009 after it was narrowly passed by both houses of the state legislature, had vowed to veto the bill if it had been successful in passing the House then the State Senate. It would have required a two-thirds majority in each chamber to override his veto.
Ken Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and now on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, traveled to New Hampshire to urge Republicans to vote against the measure.
'Congratulations to the thousands of New Hampshire residents who came together for fairness,' Mehlman said in a statement. 'Thanks to their powerful voices, dozens of New Hampshire Republicans joined their colleagues across the aisle to stand up for freedom and family values.'
In addition to New Hampshire, same-sex marriage is also now legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia.