It is town meeting season here in New Hampshire, and many smaller towns have an article up for consideration by petition to ask for a state-wide vote on a constitutional amendment to define “marriage” in a way that negates the decision of the legislature last year.  Some towns have passed this non-binding resolution; others have discarded it.  I am happy to say that my town did the latter.  Here is what I had to say to the meeting.

Mr. Moderator and citizens of Hollis.  Thank you for the opportunity to speak to this issue.

On the day that the governor signed the gay marriage bill into law, I was proud to live in New Hampshire.  Proud that our state chose to do the right thing using the legislative process and taking action through our elected representatives.  No one can dismiss this change by claiming it is just judges exceeding their authority.

I believe that, in passing this legislation, the legislature was acting in the best traditions of New Hampshire where the rights of the individual are held in high esteem and we go the extra mile to be sure our citizens have the freedom to live their lives as they wish without unnecessary interference from government or other narrow interests.

I was proud again in January that the first gay marriage under the new law was celebrated at my church a few minutes after midnight of the New Year.  I emphasize the word “celebrated”.  It was indeed a joyous occasion, just as many weddings have been here and worldwide throughout history.  Many members of the congregation attended, regardless of their own sexual preference or relationship status.

It pains me to think that there is the slightest possibility that the joy and fulfillment of marriage could again be denied to good citizens who, in this regard, wish for nothing more than most everyone here believes they are entitled to.  It troubles me to think that there are those who would have us step backwards on the long road that we have been traveling as a nation toward true equality for all people.

I am confident that the judgment of history will say that we did the right thing in legislating marriage equality.  I believe that 20, 30, 50 years from now, it will be unthinkable to outlaw gay marriage, just as we now find it unthinkable to outlaw interracial marriage or reinstate segregation.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”  I ask that we all stand on the side of justice, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right of all of our citizens to be treated equally and with respect under the law.

I oppose this resolution.

Thank you.