Former Libertarian Legislative Nominee Plays Key Role in Ongoing New Hampshire Same-Sex Marriage BillMay 20th, 2009
Steve Vaillancourt is a Republican state legislator in New Hampshire who in 2000 was elected to the legislature solely as a Libertarian Party nominee. He has been in the national news this week. Two weeks ago, the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Governor John Lynch said he would only sign that bill if it were amended to provide extra protection for individuals who do not ever want to be forced to participate in anything involving same-sex marriage.
On May 20, the House rejected the Governor’s proposed amendments to the bill, by a two vote margin. Vaillancourt, who is gay, and who supports same-sex marriage, feels the Governor’s amendments are bad policy, and spoke on the House floor against the Governor’s amendments. See this story.
Vaillancourt became the Libertarian Party nominee in 2000. He had been a Democratic house member but he had run and lost the Democratic primary for State Senate in August. After he was defeated in that primary, he asked the Libertarian Party to nominate him for his House seat. The party was permitted to do that because in 2000 it was permitted to nominate by convention for any partisan office in the state. It had that legal ability because it had completed a petition (requiring signatures equal to 3% of the last gubernatorial vote). That petition effort was so difficult, the Libertarian Party has never since completed it, but it paid off for the party in November 2000 when Vaillancourt was re-elected, even though he was only listed on the ballot as a Libertarian. Later Vaillancourt switched his affiliation to the Republican Party.
The only instances at which the Libertarian Party has ever elected a state legislator who was not also running as the nominee of a major party were this instance in New Hampshire in 2000, plus instances in Alaska in 1978, 1980 and 1984.