The sponsor of a bill to repeal New Hampshire's gay marriage law proposed Tuesday to give voters a chance to weigh in through a nonbinding ballot question on whether the state should restore a 2007 civil unions law.
State Rep. David Bates, a Windham Republican, said his proposal would repeal gay marriage effective March 31, 2013, and replace it with civil unions. He said if voters decide in November they want to keep civil unions for homosexuals, gay marriage would be repealed. He said if voters object to repealing gay marriage, lawmakers would have time to stop the repeal from taking effect.
The civil unions law enacted in 2007 was considered by gay marriage supporters to be marriage in all but name. Bates' proposal is intended to return to that law by giving same-sex couples the contractual protections of marriage and requiring them to go through divorce proceedings like heterosexual couples.