NH state Rep. Jim Splaine, who's been working hard to make same-sex marriage legal in NH, was kind enough to answer a couple of my questions by email today, and I'm passing along the info he gave me.
He had posted a great list of things we can do to help at the Blue Hampshire website yesterday, but I wasn't sure whether those things applied to out-of-state people as well as to NH residents. So I asked him, and he replied:
Yes, it would help for anyone / everyone who is supportive of marriage equality to write, fax, e-mail, call, or visit the Governor's Office. Especially helpful is to show our faces (pictures) or tell our stories.
You heard the man—go contact Governor Lynch. Be polite, be respectful, and tell your stories.
(Note: Their online comments form allows only 800 characters; that's less than 150 words. Be concise.)
My other question was a procedural one.
Background: it's been widely speculated that Gov. Lynch (who has in the past expressed unwillingness to sign a hypothetical same-sex marriage bill but has recently declined to explicitly say he would veto the actual bill headed his way) might just sit on the bill, in which case after five days it becomes law without his having to sign it.
I had been incorrectly thinking (and have said publicly in a couple of places—sorry about that) that yesterday's vote immediately sent the bill to Gov. Lynch for his signature, but Rep. Splaine mentioned elsewhere on Blue Hampshire that the bill has not yet technically been sent to the Governor.
I asked him for more info about that; he replied:
[...] House Bill 436 is currently undergoing even more thorough review by the attorney branch of the Legislature (Office of Legislative Services) to be sure that each provision is in order and fit with other statutory references—it's a "typo" sort of review that is a formality, and problems will not occur at this point, just small periods, commas, or number references to statutes may be adjusted.
Then the bill goes to the House Speaker first, for her signature—perhaps by Monday or Tuesday—and then to the Senate President for her signature—could be the same day. That process can be delayed depending on the expectations of the Governor's Office, or sped up.
We're looking at the bill being in the hands of the Governor by Tuesday perhaps at the earliest, or it could be longer. It is from the time that he formally receives it from the Secretary of State that the 5 days begin—5 days, including Saturdays [but excluding Sundays]. Meaning if he did get it to his desk on Tuesday, he would need to sign or veto by [the following] Monday, or it becomes law without his signature. Again—it could be sooner, or considerably later.
So I was wrong in saying that Lynch has only until next Tuesday; sounds like the five-day clock won't start ticking until at least Tuesday.
(Thanks for taking the time to clarify all that, Rep. Splaine! And thanks to tacithydra for pointing me to Blue Hampshire.)
But don't wait 'til next week; contact Governor Lynch now. We don't know when he's going to make a decision about what to do with the bill.
If you live in NH, you could even go by the State House in Concord in person. If that's not an option, then regardless of where you live, give him a call, or send him email, or a fax, or even a papermail letter.
Tell him your stories. Send him your pictures. Tell him why same-sex marriage is important to you and/or to those you care about. If you're straight, tell him about (for example) your gay, lesbian, or bisexual friends or relatives. If you don't live in New Hampshire, don't try to hide that; you could even acknowledge that you understand that you're not one of his constituents, but that you're watching with interest from afar.
And whatever else you say, ask him to sign the bill, or else to let it become law without his signature. Help bring marriage equality to New Hampshire.