CONCORD, N.H. — The state House of Representatives on Friday defeated a bill that would have required couples to be tested for exposure to the AIDS virus before they could marry.
The lower house of the Legislature voted 165 to 136 against the measure, rejecting pressure from Gov. John H. Sununu to pass the bill. The state Senate narrowly passed a similar measure earlier this month.
Sununu and other advocates of the legislation have argued that mandatory AIDS testing for couples seeking marriage licenses would help scientists collect valuable data on the spread of the deadly disease among heterosexuals and would alert married couples that any children they have might be born with the disease.
Opponents of the bill, including representatives of the health care industry, urged legislators not to panic over the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and noted that blood tests to detect antibodies to the AIDS virus are not always accurate.
They argued also that the proposal would divert AIDS prevention efforts away from high-risk groups, such as homosexual men and intravenous drug users.
Sununu would not say whether he plans to seek passage of the measure at another time.