A Granite Stater’s Reflection on Victory in New Hampshire
April 3, 2012 by HRC staff
This post comes from HRC Regional Field Organizer Trevor Chandler:
There are a few times in every person’s life when pride in where you were brought up spills over. For some it is when the home team wins the championship, for others it is when your neighbors rally together after a tragedy. In New Hampshire it was a mix of both, coming together after the victory of equality in 2009 and rallying together when it was in threat of being taken away.
For me, I couldn’t have been any more proud than when I sat in the gallery of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and watched the most bipartisan vote in support of marriage equality to ever happen in the history of our country. With that vote New Hampshire not only solidified its place on the vanguard of LGBT rights, but also showed the world that it does not matter what party you belong to, marriage equality is a human issue not a partisan one. In this respect and others, New Hampshire is truly first in the nation.
Growing up in Laconia, in one of the most conservative counties in New Hampshire at the time, I came out my sophomore year in high school and was fortunate to have an incredible support structure around me both at home and in school. Even after coming out as gay I still played chess with the quarterback during study hall and remained civically active in my community with nothing but positive words of support and affirmation. I am incredibly thankful for this as I realize not every student can be as fortunate as I was, and it was this experience that reinforced my belief that my state is not one that discriminates or treats its citizens differently simply because who they are, but respects the freedom and dignity of all individuals.
It was based on that ideal that I first signed on with HRC to defend marriage equality in January 2011. The Human Rights Campaign has been on the forefront of passing, securing, and defending marriage equality from the very beginning; committing a huge amount of resources to make sure that all families here are respected and protected. HRC was a founding member of Standing Up for NH Families and with the field team on the ground and an army of volunteers who passion and dedication is unmatched, we held house parties and made tens of thousands of phone calls which generated tens of thousands of conversations with legislators. This incredible grassroots team changed hearts, minds, and in the end, history.
With the incredible 2-1 victory in a Republican controlled legislature we are celebrating but we know the fight here is not over and we will be prepared to ensure that New Hampshire remains a marriage equality state after 2012.
The work we do here at HRC is a constant reminder to all of us of the fact that the fight for equality continues not just here in New Hampshire but around the country. I proudly leave New Hampshire now for Minnesota, to help stop an anti-marriage constitutional amendment from passing on the ballot in November. Our opponents are relentless and we will fight them everywhere. The fight for equality never stops.
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