What you can do to help New Hampshire

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.

5 Responses to “What you can do to help New Hampshire”

  1. irilyth

    I never follow up on these things, but was moved to do so, and your helpful links helped tremendously. Thanks.

  2. Debby B.

    Thanks for making it so easy to contact the governor and giving advice on what to say. I’ve gotten lazy about my political action. I felt so good after I sent the letter.

  3. Jed

    Yay! Thank you both!

    …An addendum, while I’m here: anyone reading this note who’s in an opposite-sex marriage, I encourage you to mention that fact when writing to the Governor. I have no basis for saying that, just pure gut feeling—I always find it particularly pleasing when I see people saying things like “I’m straight and married and I support same-sex marriage.” It helps remind people not to believe the propaganda that same-sex marriage somehow hurts opposite-sex marriages.

    (And those of you who are bi but married to someone of the opposite sex might consider mentioning in your letters something to the effect that if you’d ended up with a partner of the same sex, in most states, you couldn’t have gotten married. Or if you live in certain states, you could mention how nice it is that that wasn’t an issue for you. I’m just brainstorming here—I’m sure you can come up with plenty to say.)

    Similarly with religion—if your religion is in favor of same-sex marriage, I recommend mentioning that fact every now and then (whether in a letter to the Governor or just in your general blogging and commenting), just to remind people that the religious groups that are opposed do not hold a monopoly on religious attitudes on this issue.

  4. Kendra

    Thanks for making it so easy! Here’s what I wrote:

    I write in support of House Bill 436. I am a straight, married, church-going Christian, and I am proud to live in a state where same-sex marriage is already legal. New Hampshire is my husband’s home state, and my mother-in-law, a life-long Democrat who volunteered for your campaign, still lives there. I have been following the progress of this bill with great interest; I urge you to sign it.


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