New Hampshire House and Senate Pass Marriage Bill for Same-Sex Couples

by HRC Staff

Gov. Lynch expected to sign legislation

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today applauded the New Hampshire State House and Senate for passing legislation to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples. The senate voted 14-10 earlier in the day in favor of the bill. The house followed later in the afternoon, voting 198-176. The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. John Lynch where it is expected to be signed into law.

"We look forward to Gov. Lynch signing the legislation passed by the state Senate and House that would make New Hampshire the latest state to recognize that loving, committed couples, and their families, should receive equal rights and responsibilities," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "No religious institution will have to recognize any marriage under this law, as the language proposed by Gov. Lynch and agreed to by the legislature made abundantly clear."

At this time, five states recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont (effective September 1, 2009), and Maine (effective September, 2009, pending a possible referendum). California recognized marriage by same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. The Proposition 8 vote was challenged, but the state supreme court upheld the amendment last month. The 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples performed before the passage of Proposition 8 remain valid.

Six states-California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Nevada (effective October 1, 2009), and Washington (as of July 26, 2009, pending possible repeal effort)-plus Washington, D.C. provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Hawaii provides same-sex couples with limited rights and benefits. New York recognizes marriages by same-sex couples validly entered into outside of New York. The New York legislature is considering marriage legislation that would permit same-sex couples to marry in those states, and the D.C. Council has passed legislation that would recognize marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in other jurisdictions (that legislation is going through a Congressional review period).

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit:

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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