Post submitted by Whitney Lovell, HRC State and Municipal Legislative Program Manager
This morning, HRC had the honor of hosting a reception at the 2014 National Conference of State Legislators Summit to award Terie Norelli, Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the Rainbow Award for Legislative Leader for Statewide LGBT Equality.
Speaker Norelli is a lawmaker who has championed LGBT equality in her home state and become one of our community's closest allies. She has served in the Legislature for 18 years and as Speaker for 6. She has been praised by both Democrats and Republicans in and outside of her own state not only for her ability to work across party lines but for her years of service and dedication to the people of New Hampshire.
Speaker Norelli presided over the Legislature as it approved civil unions in 2007 and then same-sex marriage in 2009. The fight for marriage in 2009 was close – with the House originally voting 182-183 prior to a motion to reconsider the first vote, at which point Speaker Norelli left the Speaker's rostrum and took to the floor personally to rally support for the measure. Ultimately, thanks to her dedication and perseverance, the measure to passed 186-179. Without her leadership, it’s doubtful that New Hampshire would have been the first state to legislatively legalize same-sex marriage without court intervention.
Senator Scott Dibble of the Minnesota State Legislature presented the award, on behalf of HRC, to Speaker Norelli. Senator Dibble is also a great friend and champion of HRC, and we are thankful that he was able to join us for the reception.