We put out the press release below last night but have since learned from insiders at the statehouse that yesterday’s turnout was the largest anyone can remember. Thanks to the 700+ supporters, including our straight friends, for showing up. The impact was felt.
Sergeant-at-Arms Says 800 attended, 700 were marriage equality supporters
Concord – The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony today from the citizens of New Hampshire about taking away the freedom for gay and lesbian couples to marry. The committee will be deliberating on the bill in the coming weeks as it decides whether to recommend its passage to the full house. A statement from Mo Baxley, executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, follows.
“We believe the Committee had all the evidence it needs to recommend that the Legislature defeat these bills. We urge committee members to make that recommendation and end this debate.
“Those opposed to repeal turned out in record numbers to fill both Representatives Hall and the gallery with standing-room only. The Sergeant-at-Arms estimated the crowd size at 800. About 750 of those opposed repeal.
“Legislators heard loud and clear today that the people of New Hampshire support marriage equality. It’s clear from the testimony and two recent statewide polls that that voters want the Legislature to leave the law alone and focus on bread and butter issues.
“As people live with the law and these marriages, they realize that it has no impact on their lives. They understand that gay and lesbian couples share the same values of other couples, like love, commitment and family.
“We will continue working hard to make sure the majority of citizens’ voices are heard in Concord. We encourage people to contact their legislators and let them know how they feel about this law.”
New Hampshire Freedom to Marry launched Standing Up for New Hampshire Families yesterday. It is a bipartisan group of citizens, business owners, people of faith, and civic leaders who oppose repealing the popular 2009 law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. Lew Feldstein, former president and chief executive officer of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, serves as co-chair.
Check out New Hampshire Freedom to Marry’s Twitter feed. Turnout for our side huge, wollops other side. It is truly unbelievable how many marriage supporters are in Representatives Hall right now, all in red.
So today the country met New Hampshire’s Craig Stowell, the former Marine and conservative who began speaking out on behalf of his gay brother’s freedom to marry. Now, in this CBS-Boston interview earlier this evening, we meet his brother, Calvin (at least through YouTube).
Today we held a press conference announcing Lew Feldstein, longtime New Hampshire businessman, campaign co-chair. Following his remarks on why he opposes repeal of marriage equality, we had a diverse line-up of speakers who offered their personal reasons why repeal is bad for the Granite State.
Following Alex Ray, owner of the Common Man family of NH restaurants who spoke in a personal capacity, Dan Chartrand of Exeter, owner of Water Street Books, continually made the case repeal was bad for business and marriage for all committed couples is good for business. Sue Methot of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce did the same.
We thank these leaders.
And we heard from some great couples this morning on what marriage means to them. Thanks to Fritz Bell, Will Fregosi, Beth McGuinn, and Tina Liberatore for making the issue of marriage personal.
Craig Stowell is a former Marine and a conservative from Claremont, NH. He pens this open letter to the Legislature, which tomorrow is holding a hearing on legislation that takes away marriage from committed gay and lesbian couples. View the ad published in the Union Leader here.