December 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Third Republican congressman backs DOMA repeal bill
Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Marriage, Charlie Bass

The New Hampshire House of Representatives in March defeated a same-sex marriage repeal bill. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A New Hampshire Congressman on Thursday became the third Republican to support a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass’ office confirmed to New Hampshire television station WMUR that the outgoing congressman has co-sponsored the DOMA repeal measure. His decision comes a week after U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-New York) announced he supports the bill.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich urged the GOP to accept the “reality” of marriage rights for same-sex couples during a Dec. 20 interview with the Huffington Post.

Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is the first Republican to co-sponsor the DOMA repeal bill, confirmed her support of nuptials for gays and lesbians during an interview with the Washington Blade in July.

The White House announced in 2011 it would no longer defend the Clinton-era law in federal court, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other leading House Republicans continue to back it.

“Congressman Bass, a man of his word, kept his promise to support the repeal of DOMA,” R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said in a statement. “Log Cabin Republicans are encouraged by another ally co-sponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act and will continue to urge our congressional allies and friends in development to do the same.”

Bass’ announcement comes nearly three years after New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law took effect.

More than 100 Republicans in March voted against a measure in the New Hampshire House of Representatives that would have repealed the statute outgoing Gov. John Lynch signed into law in 2009.

Gays and lesbians in neighboring Maine can begin to legally marry on Dec. 29, while same-sex couples in Vermont and five other states and in D.C. can tie the knot. Maryland’s same-sex marriage law takes effect on Jan. 1.

“Through their legislature, the people of New Hampshire have repeatedly expressed their support of the freedom to marry, giving all committed and loving couples in their state the ability to legally protect their families,” Cooper said. “It is long past time these marriages, and the legal marriages of same-sex couples across the country, were given the respect they deserve.”

Democrat Ann McLane Kuster in November defeated Bass.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • My – the congressman really took a brave stance for equality! Perhaps the reporter could have asked what he is going to do about the issue next week, when he is no longer a member of Congress.

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