Press Releases



New Hampshire Senate Votes to Legalize Gay Marriage


New Hampshire Senate Votes to Legalize Gay Marriage

April 29, 2009

The Democratic controlled New Hampshire Senate passed an amended version of the controversial measure to legalize gay marriage today. The vote was 13-11 in favor of the measure.


The House passed a similar measure last month by a 186-179 vote. The two chambers must reconcile small changes between the two measures in a conference committee but this is seen as a technicality. Democratic Gov. John Lynch must decide whether he will sign or veto the bill or allow it to become law without his signature. Lynch has been silent on the matter, though he has stated in the past that he opposes same-sex marriage.


In passing the bill, the Senate rejected the recommendation of a key legislative committee, which last week voted to kill the bill.


But undecided Democratic Senators secured concessions in the form of amendments in return for their commitments to vote in favor the bill during private meetings on Tuesday night. The key amendment would allow churches to refuse to conduct a same-sex marriage.


All state civil unions will become gay marriages in January of 2010.


Passage of the bill is seen as a major legislative victory for Democratic State Chairman Ray Buckley who lobbied aggressively for the measure during closed-door meetings over the past twenty-four hours.


The debate in the Senate was somewhat lopsided in that Republican Senators made a curious strategic decision on Tuesday night to say as little about the controversial measure as possible in order to, according to Republican Senate Leader Peter Bragdon, “preserve some decorum” and were not included in negotiations about the amendments.


Senators were subjected to a blizzard of lobbying from gay rights groups in the days leading up to today’s vote.


Lobbying efforts focused on a small handful of Democratic lawmakers who were seen as on the fence, including Senate President Sylvia Larson and Sens. Lou D’Allesandro, Betsy DeVries and Deb Reynolds. All but D’Allesandro voted in favor of the bill.


Sen. Reynolds may face criticism from conservative and Republican circles, as she voted to kill the measure in the committee and switched her vote on the Senate floor.


Sen. DeVries told constituents this weekend in voice mail recordings that she would vote against it, but she voted for it.

Every Republican member of the state Senate voted against the bill.


The measure capped off a morning of controversial decisions in the Senate. In other activity, the chamber voted to legalize the use of medical marijuana and voted against a transgendered rights bill.



DNC Chairman Tim Kaine Applauds Passage Of President Obama’s Landmark Budget By The House And Senate 

Kaine Says Passage of President'sBudget, Which Makes Major Investments in Health Care, Energy and Education, Cements Foundation for Change Laid in First 100 Days


Washington, D.C. – Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine praised House and Senate Democrats today for passing President Obama’s budget which restores fiscal discipline, strengthens the middle class and invests in the nation’s future.


“Facing the worst economic crisis in decades, President Obama took the oath of office 100 days ago with a bold agenda to turn our economy around, get Americans back to workand lay a solid foundation for future economic growth and prosperity. And he has done just that. The budget passed today by Congress affirms and supports that vision and addresses the President’s fundamental priorities: halving the deficit over the next four years, providing quality, affordable health care to Americans, improving education investing in the clean energy revolution while reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” said Kaine. "


“While the President and Democrats in Congress have moved with remarkable speed and with bold action to address our nation's problems, instead of contributing meaningful ideas and solutions, Republicans chose to just say no rather than support the President's plans or provide constructive alternatives of their own. The good news for Republicans, however, is that this budget is only the first step in addressing the challenges we face as anation. As the President hassaid since day one,I urge Republicans to set aside their reflexive partisanship and play a constructive role in the coming debates on health care, energy and educationbecause the American people expect more than just'no' from the minority party in Congress.”



Statement By DNC Chairman Kaine On The Passage Of H.R. 1913, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act Of 2009 

Kaine Congratulates House of Representatives, Urges Senate To Take Swift Action On Legislation To Expand Civil Rights Protections



Washington, D.C. - Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine released the following statement on passage by the House of Representatives of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009:


“The House of Representatives took an important step today to close gaps in federal hate crimes law and ensure further protections for all American citizens who fall victim to violent crimes of intolerance. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act allocates crucial federal resources to assist states and local law enforcement in their efforts to prevent and prosecute hate crimes, while also maintaining individuals’ rights to freedom of speech and association. More than 300 organizations representing law enforcement, civic, civil rights and religious groups have voiced their strong support for this long-overdue legislation. I congratulate the House of Representatives, and I urge the Senate to take swift action on this important civil rights issue so that the President may sign the bill into law.”


Shea-Porter Receives A+ Scorecard from Drum Major Institute for Public Policy 

WASHINGTON, DC. — Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter received an A+ scorecard from the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy for her support of the middle class.


“I am honored to receive an A+ scorecard from the Drum Major Institute for my support of the middle class,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “I am from the middle class and understand how important it is to have a Representative in Washington that stands up for middle class values. I am proud to support the middle class and will keep fighting for them.”


The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy is a non-partisan, non-profit think tank.


Shea-Porter Introduces Bill to Help Protect Workers and Families

WASHINGTON, DC. — Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter demonstrated her unwavering commitment to workers and families by introducing the Family and Medical Leave Restoration Act. This bill repeals certain restrictive rules regarding the use of Family and Medical Leave that were enacted during the previous administration.


“The Family and Medical Leave Act helps ensure that workers do not have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a loved one or themselves,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “My bill will restore the Family and Medical Leave Act to its original intent and spirit.”


Since its enactment in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has helped workers and family members balance the responsibilities of the workplace with their or their families’ medical needs. The leave is unpaid, but it gives workers the necessary time off in a medical crisis.


Specifically, the Family and Medical Leave Restoration Act will:


Restore protections that prevent an employer from forcing an employee from using more incremental FMLA leave than is medically necessary;

Reverse limitations placed on the use of accrued paid leave while on FMLA;

Restore the prohibition on denying attendance bonuses as a consequence for taking FMLA leave;

Restore protections that prohibit the waiving of an employee’s FMLA rights without review and approval by the Department of Labor or the courts;

Restore protections that prohibit an employer from approving or denying FMLA leave based on compliance or non-compliance with employer leave request policies;

Restore employee privacy by reversing regulations that would allow an employer to directly contact an employee’s medical provider;

Restore previous “fitness-for-duty” certification rules for employees who take intermittent leave;

Direct the Secretary to revise the Bush regulations to revisit the new, burdensome treatment and recertification timelines imposed by the previous Department of Labor, and

Direct the Secretary to revise the provided medical certification template to include the definition of a “serious health condition.”


In November 2008, the Department of Labor issued final regulations that severely restrict access to Family and Medical Leave. Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s bill is needed in order to reverse the most restrictive of these new regulations.