New Hampshire may legalize civil unions for all — even siblings

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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A bill that would repeal New Hampshire’s 2009 law legalizing same-sex marriage would also allow two citizens of either sex to enter into a civil union — even siblings.

New Hampshire Republican state Rep. David Bates, the sponsor of the bill, confirmed this to The Daily Caller.

Asked about the logic behind allowing siblings to enter into civil unions, Bates responded, “You have that question backwards. By definition in the bill, a ‘civil union’ means a contractual agreement that provides reciprocal benefits and obligations to the parties to the agreement.”

“The proper question is: What logical or legally defensible reason is there to exclude anyone?” Bates said. “There is none.”

The bill was passed out of the New Hampshire House’s Judiciary Committee by an 11–6 vote on Tuesday. It is likely to sail through the state legislature, where Republicans hold enormous majorities in both chambers: 74 percent in the House and 79 percent in the Senate.

Whether there are enough votes to override a promised veto by the state’s Democratic governor, John Lynch, depends on the number of Republicans who break ranks to oppose the bill. (FLASHBACK: Rhode Island on its way to legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples)

Bates explained to the Union Leader that incest laws would not be violated by allowing siblings to enter into civil unions. “There is no reason for us to speculate on the sexual nature of that relationship,” he said.

“It is too soon to know how everyone will vote,” Bates said about an override vote, “but I’ll be working on it to find out.”

The New Hampshire same-sex marriage law has been touted as the nation’s foremost example of balancing the interests of couples who wish to marry and of individuals who object to participating in such ceremonies. Lynch, initially an opponent of same-sex marriage, signed it into law after protections were added for religious organizations.

Asked for tangible examples of negative effects stemming from the legalization of same-sex marriage, Bates said, “Right now, I don’t have the time that it would take to explain the answer.”

If the repeal bill becomes law, existing marriages would continue to be recognized, but new same-sex marriages would not be permitted.

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