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  Civil unions foes mull options
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ContributorThe Sunset Provision 
Last EditedThe Sunset Provision  Apr 28, 2007 01:34am
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News DateSaturday, April 28, 2007 07:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionOpponents of the state civil unions bill said yesterday they were assessing their options on what to do now that the bill has cleared its last legislative milestone.

Gov. John Lynch has said he would sign the bill, which passed the Senate Thursday on a 14-10 vote.

"I think people have three options," said Karen Testerman, director of Cornerstone Policy Research in Concord: "move out of state, step up to the plate and run for office, or pursue legal avenues."

She said there was no consensus yet among conservatives with whom she has talked.

Testerman said a repeal bill was another possibility, but that would have to wait until after a key event took place: "Look at the next election. I don't think Democrats realize the backlash this is going to have in the voting booth."

Until then, even moving to another state is no sure answer for those who don't want to be around civil unions because many other states are considering similar laws, she said.

Rep. Alfred Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, said he was counting on a challenge emerging before the law took effect, Jan. 1, 2008.

"I'm hoping before anyone says 'I do' that someone ties this up in court, just like people did with parental notification," he said.

The 2003 parental notification law on abortions for minors has yet to take effect, stalled in federal court. A challenge reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and the law is now the subject of a repeal bill.

"I say we tie it up in court, then come back in the 2008 elections," Baldasaro said.

Rep. Maureen Mooney, R-Merrimack, who is an attorney, said she thinks the bill is ripe for a legal challenge on constitutional grounds. The state constitution bans discrimination on the basis of sex, yet the civil unions bill would set same-sex as a criteria for qualifying, she said.

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