Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Hampshire approves civil unions

The legislature in New Hampshire has voted along party lines to legalize civil unions, and Gov. John Lynch says he'll sign it.

"This legislation is a matter of conscience, fairness and of preventing discrimination," said governor's spokesman Colin Manning. "It is in keeping with New Hampshire's proud tradition of preventing discrimination."

The bill will make New Hampshire the fifth state to allow either civil unions or full-blown gay marriage.

And how's this for incoherence: "We don't let blind people drive or felons vote, all for good and obvious reasons," said Sen. Robert Letourneau, arguing that the state had every interest in refusing to recognize such unions. Because, I guess, it's as self-evidently dangerous as driving blind and as fitting a self-inflicted punishment as felons losing their right to vote.

With New York considering gay marriage (though it's a long shot to pass), it appears that New England is becoming the vanguard for marital fairness -- echoing their historic role as the vanguard in other divisive social issues such as abolishing slavery, racial integration and the like. History vindicated their leadership then; it will vindicate their leadership in this case, too.

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