Rules, schmules: Larsen doesn't care


Union Leader, June 3, 2009

Legislators vote today on amending the same-sex marriage bill so it meets Gov. John Lynch's approval and can become law. It's telling, however, that Senate President Sylvia Larsen had to violate Senate rules to get this language passed.

Senate rules require that all committee of conference votes be unanimous. They also require that committees of conference contain senators from each party. When Sen. Sheila Roberge, R-Bedford, refused to sign the conference report approving the amendment to the same-sex marriage bill, Sen. Larsen removed her from the committee and replaced her with Sen. Matthew Houde, D-Plainfield. Voila! The language was passed.

Supporters of same-sex marriage talk all day long about fairness. But to get their bill through, they intentionally violated Senate rules written to guarantee minority approval of controversial legislation. Gov. John Lynch ought to veto the bill for that reason alone. A matter as divisive as this should pass into law by force of persuasion, not by sleight of hand.

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