Last November, to my complete and utter astonishment, the Democrats swept New Hampshire elections. In addition to both House seats, they retained the governorship and took majorities in both Houses of the legislature and the Executive Council. And flush with success, they’re starting to implement the agenda they’ve been pushing for years.
One aspect of it I find I’m welcoming. The House just overwhelming passed a Civil Union bill.
This measure begins what I think should have been done a long time ago — it gets the State out of the marriage business. Right now, in New Hampshire, marriage grants about 400 specific rights and privileges to the couple. This bill would establish a “separate but equal” status for couples who either don’t want to or can’t get married. Maybe they’re athiests and don’t care for the religious origins and associated with it. Maybe they “don’t believe” in marriage. Or maybe they’re of the same sex.
As I said, it’s about damned time. From my extremely cursory study of the measure, it preserves many of the restrictions of marriage — it prevents close relations from legally joining, for one example — but allows same-sex partners to form a state-recognized family unit, with pretty much all the rights and privileges that entails.
I think that, long-term, it’ll be good for New Hampshire, and our society in general. The state is strengthened by family units, by people forming bonds with each other. It’s certainly better for children, but I think we’ve reached the point where the state has to continue to subsidize and encourage people to have kids — we’re not exactly suffering from underpopulation, and not likely to any time soon. And by avoiding the whole “M-word,” they’ve taken away one of the traditionalists’ most potent rhetorical tools.
In retrospect, I think I’m glad I voted for Governor Lynch, both in 2004 and 2006. This might not be so bad as I had feared.