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Same-sex marriage threatened in New Hampshire

Even as Rhode Island legislators introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on Jan. 6, fears are mounting that New Hampshire may be preparing to repeal its same-sex marriage law.

In the November elections, Republicans took control of both houses of the New Hampshire Legislature and they have enough seats to override vetoes by Democratic Gov. John Lynch.

Bills have been filed to repeal the marriage-equality law and to amend the state constitution to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.

“Republicans now have a veto-proof majority in the Legislature, and the newly elected House speaker, state Rep. Bill O’Brien, is a staunch opponent of marriage equality,” said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Four Republican senators or 32 Republican House members would need to join every Democrat in one or the other chamber to uphold a gubernatorial veto of any bill ending same-sex marriage. The Senate has 24 members, of whom 19 now are Republican, and the House has 400 members, of whom 298 are Republican.

The previous Legislature legalized same-sex marriage in June 2009 and the law took effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Same-sex marriage also is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

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