CONCORD, N.H. — More than 200 people rallied today outside the Statehouse to repeal New Hampshire’s gay marriage law and replace it with civil unions for any unmarried adults, including relatives.

State Rep. David Bates, a Windham Republican, told the crowd there is no truth more self-evident under the federal Constitution than men and women were created for each other.

“Other arrangements are unnatural and incapable of sustaining the human species,” he said.

The rally was to support Bates’ bill to repeal the law. No date has been scheduled for a House vote.

Democratic Gov. John Lynch has repeatedly said he will veto attempts by the Republican-controlled Legislature to repeal the law, which he signed in 2009. New Hampshire enacted civil unions in 2007 for same-sex couples and two years later replaced that with the marriage law. Lynch also signed the civil unions law.

Supporters said the proposed repeal bill would not apply to gay marriages that have already occurred, but would stop new ones. Since 2010, 1,866 New Hampshire gay couples have married, according to the state division of vital records.

Repeal opponents say Bates’ bill has conflicting provisions that appear to bar the courts from recognizing same-sex relationships as valid, while declaring gay marriages in effect before the repeal took effect to remain valid.

Bates has said he is working on an amendment to clarify that and several other issues.

Republican House Speaker William O’Brien called the gay marriage law an attack on the family that must be reversed.

While O’Brien and other were speaking, Concord resident Marcia Blackman at the back of the crowd yelled: “Why do you hate me? Why do you hate my family?”

O’Brien ignored the outburst and spoke louder into the microphone.

“We must vote to back marriage for our children,” he said.

The Rev. Bob Emrich, a Baptist pastor in Plymouth, Maine, who helped lead the last campaign to defeat gay marriage in Maine, told the crowd the people in Maine had nullified a law passed by lawmakers and they could also.

“They told us it was a matter of civil rights. It is not. They said it is a matter of equality. It is not. It is about the definition of marriage. No one has a right to alter that,” he said.

Jean-Marc LeDoux, a 20-year-old University of New Hampshire student, said militants passed the law and “our turncoat governor” signed it, a reference to statements by Lynch before he signed the law that he opposed same-sex marriage.

“We’re fighting for words, words,” he said.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne said if he is elected he will sign a repeal bill into law should the effort this year fail.

Republican National Committeewoman Phyllis Woods said the GOP platform includes a statement that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“To define homosexual unions as marriage is contrary to what the founders of the Constitution believed was natural law,” she said.

Bates immediately followed up with advice to the Republicans in the crowd: “This is our party’s platform and it should be our party’s priority.”

Repeal supporter Kristin Noble, 39, of Bedford, held a sign that read: “The state can’t be trusted to protect sacraments. Get government out of marriage.”

“I just think we need government out of marriage. It should be repealed. It should be handled by churches,” said Noble, who was raised a Catholic, of sanctifying unions.

Tony Fallon, 55, of Strafford, had a sign that said marriage is “God’s copyright, trademark, sacrament.”

Marriage “is something the state uses with permission but has no right to change,” he said.

Bates’ bill would not enact the same civil unions law that was in effect before gays were allowed to marry. That law granted gays all the rights and responsibilities of marriage except in name. The proposed civil unions law would be open to any two adults and would let anyone refuse to recognize the unions. It also would allow anyone to discriminate against the couples in employment, housing and public accommodations based on religious or moral beliefs.

Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, spoke for repeal opponents.

“I’m surprised at how small the crowd is,” he said.

He said he did not hear a single example of anyone in the clergy suffering an ill effect because of the law or that any individuals suffered ill effects. He said New Hampshire polls show a majority oppose repealing the law. Bates disputes their accuracy.

“We haven’t seen the end of Western civilization as we know it,” Robinson said.

New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.


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