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Boston residents learn of one lawmaker's view on civil unions

With this year's elections hot on the horizon, many politicians are working the circuit to plug their parties' political agenda and push new legislation and/or alter existing laws. One of the focus areas for many lawmakers has been the topic of same-sex marriage and divorce. While more states are passing laws to allow same-sex marriage or civil unions, it still remains a heated topic for many states throughout the nation.

In New Hampshire, one state lawmaker has his own vision for how to get rid of the 2010 gay marriage law. He has sponsored a new bill that would give voters the opportunity to cast their vote on a nonbinding ballot question. The issue at hand for voters to decide, if his bill passes, is whether New Hampshire should give new life to a 2007 law on civil unions.

State Representative David Bates (Rep.) proposes the repeal of the gay marriage law on March 31, 2013, and its replacement by civil unions. These were defined in the law by a 2007 bill. Also, Bates wants to leave it up to NH voters if homosexuals could legally obtain a civil union, but the gay marriage law would cease to exist.

In fact, if this amendment went through, the existing definition of marriage would be worded to be "between one man and one woman." Bates calls the state's current definition of marriage an "illegitimate definition."

Those against the change feel that the proposal is discriminatory and posed to take away the rights of same-sex couples not protect them.

This proposed law would not ignore the needs of people who have already become legally married in the state. Bates' proposal offers to homosexual partners the "contractual protections of marriage" while "requiring them to go through divorce proceedings like heterosexual couples," according to a media report.

The Bates proposal will be presented as an amendment to the bill when it hits the House floor vote this month.

His amendment would not impact the nearly 1,900 marriages which have been carried out in New Hampshire in the last five years. NH voters can elect to follow this new bill to see if the state will continue with the 2010 definition of gay marriage or return to the concept of civil unions.

Source: Boston.com, "NH legislator: Return to civil union," Mark Morris, March 13, 2012

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