Marriage equality repeal is a return to discrimination
The New Hampshire Legislature is considering a bill to repeal marriage equality. I urge our citizens to look within themselves to oppose returning to the discrimination of the past.In our world, there is nothing more important than the way we treat one another, and repealing equality is not something our state has ever done.Every week since civil marriage for same-gender couples became effective on Jan. 1, 2010, there have been more and more ceremonies. Through the first half of March, they number 1,899. Nearly 3,800 of our fellow citizens from every part of our state -- our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members -- have made the important commitment to share their love and caring for the special person in their lives. That's something to celebrate in this wonderful place that we call "home."We passed the legislation allowing for civil marriage equality the New Hampshire way. No out-of-state individual, organization or group, and no organization within the state, asked me to introduce the bill in 2009. We adopted it after much legislative discussion, with thousands of our citizens attending public hearings and talking and writing to their representatives and their governor asking for equality.We should be proud of that.Efforts to repeal civil marriage take our focus away from important matters of the economy, creating jobs, streamlining our state budget and finding solutions for education funding. That's the people's agenda. We should ask our legislators to pay attention to those needs.Right now, opponents to marriage equality are switching their tactics and want to tie repeal to a referendum vote this November. My goodness. Put discrimination to a vote? Make a political campaign on whether our citizens stand for equality? All this in the "Live Free Or Die" state, in the nation of "with liberty and justice for all?"Those who want to return to discrimination are, I believe, on the wrong side of history. Worse, they are on the wrong side of the human heart and spirit, which I think in America always favors treating one another with fairness, equality and dignity.Jim Splaine of Portsmouth, a former state representative and senator, was primary sponsor of House Bill 436, which allows same-gender couples to have civil marriage.