By Rep Steve Vaillancourt
First a caveat. I don't agree with Rep. Bates on the gay marriage issue.
However, like every other American, he has the right to both freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If Democratic spokeshack Harrell Kirstein and Peter Burling (who seems only too willing to crawl out from under his rock to offer an opinion no matter how ill-informed he may be), had their way, only members of their own party would be given freedoms of speech and religion.
Hey, Herr Kirstein, hey Comrade Burling, our forefathers fought for our freedoms so that we could all enjoy them, not just those who agree with us.
Burling is particularly misinformed when he says the GOP leadership has promised to "stay away from faith-based legislating" and deal with the budget shortfall. I believe what GOP leadership has said, and both the Speaker, Senate President and Majority Leader restated this on my television show this week is that they would focus first on fiscal issues, not that they totally stay away from other issues. Two years ago, Dems insisted that we could do a budget and deal with gay marriage at the same time. They were right, and Republicans are right to say now we can deal with the budget and gay marriage repeal (which I will oppose).
To see Burling and Kirstein make fools of themselves nationwide is bad news for NH. If you don't believe me, Google this topic and check out what a Las Vegas paper has to say about it.
This isn't the first time Ray Buckley's Dems have shown littler regard for free speech. Remember how Buckley and then Speaker Norelli forced Rep. Tim Horrigan to resign for an innocuous comment he made regarding Palin last summer. Free speech is for all; it's especially important to protect when we disagree with the free speaker, a concept Democrats ignore at their own peril.