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America's Culture War

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New Hampshire and the Definition of Marriage

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

As America finds itself in the throes of a full-scale culture war, no more significant issue looms before us than the definition of marriage. Thankfully, so far, traditional marriage is being affirmed in most states. However, not so in the New England states. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage (Miller, 2004). Vermont and Connecticut have sanctioned “civil unions” (Peterson, 2005). But a bright spot in the midst of such disappointing actions is the apparent indication that New Hampshire is going against the left coast’s liberal tendency. A state commission defeated proposals that would allow homosexuals to marry, recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, and set up domestic partner registration. The recommendations will now go to the legislature (Jordahl, 2005).

Earlier this month the same commission recommended a state constitutional marriage amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman, while also forbidding polygamy. The amendment must first clear both houses of the legislature by a three-fifths majority vote. Having done so, the issue will then be decided by a two-thirds vote of the New Hampshire population, rather than activist judges (“Marriage in NH...,” 2005).

As the battle now stands, 39 states have marriage protections, including 18 constitutional amendments. Residents of Texas are slated to vote this week on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions in Texas (Ratcliffe, 2005). “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).


Jordahl, Steve (2005), “NH Commission Recommends Traditional Marriage,” Family News in Focus, October 26, [On-line], URL:

“Marriage in NH: A Man, A Woman, A Vote” (2005), New Hampshire Union Leader, October 7, [On-line], URL:

Miller, Dave (2004), “Massachusetts and Gay Marriages,” [On-line], URL:

Peterson, Kavan (2005), “Same-sex Unions—A Constitutional Race,” Stateline, [On-line], URL: 1&contentId=20695.

Ratcliffe, R.G. (2005), “Same-sex Marriage Ban Going to Voters,” Houston Chronicle, May 24, [On-line], URL:

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