Last week the overwhelmingly Republican New Hampshire statehouse voted, well, overwhelmingly to preserve gay marriage. The bill under consideration would have made New Hampshire the first state to repeal gay marriage. Initially, gay activists only hoped to keep the vote under two-thirds of the House, so that Democratic Gov. John Lynch could torpedo it with a veto. But when it came up for a vote, it didn’t even capture a majority of the House’s 297 Republican representatives, elected in the conservative tsunami of 2010.
How can this be? We’re in the middle of a Republican presidential primary, normally a time for conservatives to beat their chests over social and culture-war issues. And the most recent Republican Party platform promises to amend the United States Constitution to prohibit any further gay nuptials.
Freedom to Marry, which led the campaign against the repeal bill, credits its success in part to inroads it has made nationally with Republicans. Freedom to Marry’s founder, Evan Wolfson, credits conservatives like Ted Olson — who led the challenge to Proposition 8 in California — and former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman with accelerating that trend.
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