During a committee debate on whether or not to reduce the penalty for simple assault, a New Hampshire state lawmaker on Tuesday suggested that certain people may like being involved in abusive relationships.
The remarks were caught on camera by Granite State Progress, a liberal advocacy group, during a meeting of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety to discuss a bill that would change the penalty on assault from a misdemeanor crime to a violation-level offense in some cases.
"Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships," said state Rep. Mark Warden, a Republican. "It's a love-hate relationship. It's very, very common for people to stick around with somebody they love who also abuses him or her."
Warden told the Concord Monitor that his words were "taken out of context," but refused to comment further.
According to the video, Warden continued, "Is the solution to those kind of dysfunctional relationships going to be more government, another law? I tend to say no. People are always free to leave."
Warden was one of four committee members to vote in favor of the bill. The committee ultimately voted, 16-4, to recommend the full House kill the bill.
Update, Feb. 28, 2013, 6:30 p.m. Rep. Warden posted an apology on his Facebook page Wednesday evening, which included what Granite State Progress called "unfounded assumptions about the role of alcohol in domestic violence situations, the false notion that abuser-victim co-counseling is a viable option for ending abuse in a relationship, and an all-around misunderstanding of the core issues." The apology was deleted from Warden's Facebook page by Thursday morning.