November 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Hassan victory in N.H. helps preserve marriage equality
Ovide Lamontagne, Maggie Wood Hassan, gay news, Washington Blade

Democratic N.H. gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan (right) won her bid against Ovide Lamontagne (Photo courtesy wikimedia)

The victory of the Democratic candidate for governor in New Hampshire on Tuesday evening brings relief to LGBT advocates who feared a Republican victory would imperil marriage equality in the state.

Maggie Hassan, the former Senate majority leader in New Hampshire, won in the gubernatorial race against attorney Ovide Lamontagne. The Associated Press declared Hassan the winner about one hour after all the polls closed in the state at 8 pm.

A win for Lamontagne would have meant Republicans would likely have only needed a bare majority to repeal the marriage law as opposed to the supermajority they would need to overcome Hassan’s veto.

Ray Buckley, who’s gay and chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, hailed the victory as win for marriage equality, which was signed into law in the state in 2009.

“Tonight, New Hampshire voters spoke loud and clear: they want to keep New Hampshire moving forward with Maggie Hassan as Governor,” Buckley said. “In the State Senate, Maggie was instrumental in passing marriage equality in New Hampshire and as Governor, she will fight to uphold equality for all Granite Staters and veto any attempt at repeal.”

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, also commended Hassan for her win in a statement.

“Governor-elect Hassan’s victory is vital to preserving New Hampshire’s popular marriage equality law and we thank her for her continued commitment to the LGBT community,” Griffin said. She will no doubt continue the great work of Gov. Lynch in ensuring that all loving and committed couples in New Hampshire are able to experience the joys of marriage.”

Over the course of her campaign, Hassan touted her role in legalizing same-sex marriage and pledged to veto any repeal bill that came to his desk. Lamontagne said he believes marriage is one man, one woman, but offered differing statements on the degree to which repeal would be a priority for him.

It’s still possible for opponents of marriage equality to repeal the same-sex marriage if Republicans retain a supermajority in the legislature and could override Hassan’s veto if they muster enough votes. However, a previous attempt to repeal the law was aborted when it was doubtful Republicans had enough votes to override the veto.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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