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Hassan, Cilley Tout Support From Gay Rights Groups

It was tit for tat. The DC-based Human Rights Campaign, endorsed Maggie Hassan, shortly before 1 o’clock. By quarter to 4, the NH Freedom to Marry Coalition PAC had thrown its support to Jackie Cilley. Both groups were key players in the 2009 push to legalize same sex marriage here, an effort that coincided with Hassan and Cilley’s time in the state senate -- Hassan as majority leader.

In its endorsement of Hassan, the Human Rights Campaign called Hassan “ a champion for fairness and a leader in the fight for marriage equality in New Hampshire.”

In its statement of support for Cilley, Freedom to Marry called her  “a strong outspoken advocate for the LGBT community.”

The dueling endorsements is another sign that the race for the democratic nomination remains tight. It also signals the friction between the Human Rights Campaign, which pumped thousands into NH -- to candidates and to Freedom to Marry during the push to make gay marriage law here, and Freedom to Marry, which lost the support of the Human Rights Campaign during this year’s effort to defeat a proposed repeal of gay marriage. The Human Rights Campaign instead worked with a new gay marriage group, Standing up for NH Families.   

Whatever happens in the Democratic primary, gay rights advocates are likely to fall in behind whomever wins. Republicans Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith both staunchly oppose gay marriage.   

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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