The Answer is "D" None of the Above
With intense local and national interest in New Hampshire’s gay marriage debate, and genuine suspense over how Gov. Lynch would respond to the relevant legislation, I have spent the past week telling lots of folks in the media and elsewhere that the governor has three options with the pending legislation. He could sign it, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.
Well, it turns out I didn’t quite cover all of the bases on this one. As a journalist commented to me this afternoon shortly after Lynch asked the legislature for revisions, who knew there was a fourth option? I actually should have seen this coming. In recent days, Gov. Lynch has reacted to the intense lobbying campaign from both the left and right only by saying he would study the legislation carefully for any potential unintended consequences that might reflect negatively on the final law.
In a way, this is in keeping with Lynch’s style of executive decision-making. As I have noted before, he really can’t split the difference on gay marriage; he can either allow it in the state, or not. But it nonetheless seems like he has approached his task by considering the legislation’s impact on the state’s competing constituencies and interests, rather than by recourse to a fixed ideological position (as is often the case with lawmakers on this issue). So, I should have foreseen that Lynch would want to “tweak” the bill’s language, in order to ensure a better fit between the various constituent interests. That is very much in keeping with his approach to consensus-building, even in a situation where there are limits to how much consensus can actually be built.


Posted On: 05-15-2009 07:27:08 by Jim Splaine
Of course, Dean -- I can't avoid offering a thought to your observation. I'm addicted, like to chocolate covered cherries. Your observaton about Governor John Lynch as a consensus-builder is accurate. It was fascinating to see him work throughout the process of listening and learning about this issue. He brought his excellent management style to bear on this, performing as the CEO that a Governor is. He saw a problem in the legislation, and he challenged us to fix it. He says he wants to make sure that equality is provided for tens of thousands of New Hampshire gay and lesbian residents, but he also wants to protect the freedom and independence of religious organizations and Churches. It's the job of a Governor to be sure that everyone is protected. John Lynch is doing his job. I think we're going to meet his challenge. I'm hoping we'll have marriage equality. 2009. With one signature.

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