The sponsor of a constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage has decided not to pursue the measure next year to clear the way for a debate over repealing New Hampshire’s law legalizing the unions.
State Rep. David Bates, the Windham Republican who also is sponsor of the repeal bill, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he wants to let the Legislature consider repealing the law enacted under Democrats two years ago before debating a constitutional change — a process that would take longer to implement.
“The bill to change the meaning of marriage back to what it was in statute is well on its way,” Bates said.
Bates said he did not want to risk having lawmakers choosing between two measures: the bill and a constitutional amendment.
“It would complicate the decision for legislators if there was another alternative out there,” he said.The legislative process seems the appropriate way to decide the issue, he said. If a constitutional amendment is used, millions of dollars in out-of-state money would flow into New Hampshire on both sides of the issue, he said.
“I don’t think that’s the way people want it decided,” he said.Constitutional amendments need three-fifths vote of the membership of both houses to be placed on the ballot and two-thirds approval of the voters to be adopted.