SUFNHF - Business Leaders Oppose Marriage Equality Repeal; Voters Send Thousands of Last-Minute Emails to Lawmakers


CONCORD, NH --On the eve of a scheduled vote on HB 437, the bill that would repeal the 2009 freedom to marry bill, business leaders restated their opposition to the move that would unnecessarily treat some of their employees differently than others, thereby jeopardizing their ability to attract the best and the brightest to New Hampshire. 
At the same time, more than 10,000 constituent contacts, either by phone or personal emails, have been received by lawmakers over the last 26 hours urging them to oppose repeal or any attempt to dilute the popular law.  
"People all over New Hampshire, from our cities to our towns, from our young people to our seniors, want the Legislature to stop this bill and reject repeal," said Lew Feldstein, co-chair of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families.  "It's gratifying but not surprising that so many Granite Staters want to tell lawmakers one more time to oppose this effort, whatever form it takes on the House floor tomorrow."
Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, the bipartisan organization created to fight repeal, has nearly 300 civic, community, business, academic and religious leaders on its leadership council.  In addition, over two dozen of the business leaders recognized as the most influential in Business New Hampshire magazine, sit on the council and oppose repeal.  
"In these tough times, we need to do everything we can to attract and keep our best employees.  Enacting the freedom to marry law was the right step to take in 2009, and repealing it now sends the wrong message about the state and about our business climate," said Dawn Wivell, Founder of the NH International Trade Center and currently CEO of Firebrand International.
"We have so many large and small business owners on our leadership council because they understand that whether it's attracting the top talent or boosting our tourist industry, we need to be a welcoming destination to everyone," Wivell added.  "We urge lawmakers to reject this ill-founded attempt to roll back the clock and let us all get back to work."

An editorial in the March issue of Business NH Magazine entitled, Equality is Good for Business stated, 

"Repealing the right to marry for same-sex couples goes against NH's strengths--the bonds of a community, a respect for privacy and individuality, and a belief people should be able to live their lives with minimum government intrusion.  We need to move beyond this divisive, discriminatory and unjust effort to roll back progress.  We should instead concentrate on what is vital to the success of our state--boosting our economy so that we can continue to provide the quality of life we enjoy in NH--a quality of life that can be enjoyed by all."

The business leaders on SUFNHF's Leadership Council include the following individuals:

Steve Barba, Former Owner of the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch
Barry Brensinger, Partner, Lavallee Brensinger Architects
Don Brueggemann, Business Owner, Bagel Works; Former State Representative 
Ed Butler, Business Owner, Notchland Inn
Dan Chartrand, Business Owner, Water Street Bookstore
Rick Cohen, Business Owner, C&S Wholesalers
Jan Cohen, Business Owner, C&S Wholesalers
Barbara Couch, Business Owner, Hypertherm Inc.
Dick Couch, Business Owner, Hypertherm Inc.
John Crosier, Former President, Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire
Maria Doyle, Business Owner, Highlands Inn
George Epstein, Chairman of the Echo GroupLarry Frates, Business Owner, Frates Creative Arts Center
Joan Frates, Business Owner, Frates Creative Arts Center
Jameson “Jamey” French, President/CEO, Northland Forests Products; Vice Chair, NH Charitable Foundation
Meredith Gonzales, Business Owner, Your Home Your World
Nancy Gould, CEO, Acme Incorporated
Jon Hall, President of Linux International
Gary Hirshberg, President and CE-Yo, Stonyfield Farm, Inc.
Dean Kamen, Inventor, Business Owner, founder of DEKA R&D
Salvatore Martignetti, Business Owner, Framed Art Superstore
Rusty McLear, Business Owner, Mill Falls Market Place and Church Landing
Sue Methot, Business Owner, Snowflake Inn
Peter Morgan, Business Owner, Highlander Inn
Sean Owen, Business Owner, Printers Square, Wedu
Chris Pappas, Vice President, Puritan Restaurant
Matt Pierson, Managing Director, Dunn & Partners; Past Chair, NH High Technology Council
Sean Owen, Business Owner, Printers Square, Wedu
Chris Pappas, Vice President, Puritan Restaurant 
Alex Ray, Business Owner, Common Man Family of Restaurants
Robert Spiegelman, Business Owner
Phyllis Stibler, President, Stibler Associates
Dawn Wivell, Founder of the NH International Trade Center