As the New Hampshire legislature prepares to vote on legislation to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law in the coming days, some Republican lawmakers are hinting that they may not have the votes to override Gov. John Lynch’s (D) expected veto of the measure. Republicans — who hold veto-proof majorities in the both the House and Senate — remain split on whether the government should limit residents’ personal freedoms, the Concord Monitor reports, and the party leadership is hoping to avoid a prolonged debate on the issue:
Rep. Seth Cohn, a Canterbury Republican who moved here as part of the Free State project, a libertarian movement to relocate to New Hampshire, is also against repeal. Cohn and others believe the bill may pass the House but does not have the two-thirds majority to override a potential veto by Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who signed the bill three years ago legalizing same-sex marriage.
“I know for a fact, based on people I’ve talked to, that if Gov. Lynch vetoes it, that veto is not override-able,” Cohn said.
Cohn said he plans to introduce an amendment on the House floor that would take government entirely out of marriage, instead giving all couples a civil union and leaving marriage up to churches and other religious institutions. That same approach is supported by the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, a libertarian-leaning group that endorsed 107 House members elected in 2010.
“[T]hey don’t want to get dragged into it,” Gene Chandler, a former Republican House speaker explained. “It’s kind of one of those issues we’re going to have to deal with but wish we didn’t have to, in my opinion,” he added. Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R) — who voted against marriage equality — has also pledged that party members can vote their consciences on marriage. “These are deeply personal issues,” Bradley said. “Leadership in the Senate is not going to push people one way or the other.”