LGBT rights in New Hampshire

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LGBT rights in New Hampshire
New Hampshire (USA)
New Hampshire (USA)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1975
Gender identity/expression Transsexual persons may receive new birth certificate after sex reassignment surgery
Recognition of
relationships
Yes, same-sex marriage since 2010 and civil unions will expire and be converted into marriages from 1/1/2011.
Adoption Yes since 1999.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of New Hampshire only just recently have the same legal rights as non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in New Hampshire, and the state has offered civil unions since 1 January 2008. Civil unions offer the same protections in-state as marriages, but not the federal benefits of marriage. Same-sex marriage in New Hampshire has been legally allowed since 1 January 2010. Civil unions will expire and all civil unions will convert to marriage from 1 January 2011.

Contents

Laws against homosexuality

Legislation against sodomy was repealed in 1975 along with other reforms.[1] The age of consent in New Hampshire is equal at 16, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender. The age of consent is 18 if the relationship is between two individuals where one is under the care, guardianship and/or authority of the other.[2][3]

Gender identity/expression

Under New Hampshire law, individuals who have undergone gender reassignment surgery will be issued new birth certificates.[1][4]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Same-sex marriage in New Hampshire has been legally allowed since 1 January 2010. Civil unions will expire and all civil unions will convert to marriage from 1 January 2011.

Civil unions

Civil unions are only available to same-sex couples in New Hampshire. On April 4, 2007, the NH House passed a civil unions bill HB437 with a vote of 243 to 129 which, if the bill were made law, would imbue partners in same-sex civil unions with the same "rights, responsibilities and obligations" as heterosexual couples in marriages.[5] On April 26, 2007, the NH State Senate approved the civil unions bill 14-10 along political party lines.[6]

NH Governor John Lynch, who opposes same-sex marriage but indicated that he was receptive to discussing civil unions as a means of granting certain rights to same-sex couples,[7] signed the bill into law on May 31, 2007, making New Hampshire "...the first state to embrace same-sex unions without a court order or the threat of one."[8] The law has been in effect since January 1, 2008.

As of mid-May 2008, over 300 same-sex couples have formed a New Hampshire civil union.[9]

Note: Civil unions will expire and all civil unions will convert to marriage from 1 January 2011.

Same-sex marriage

As of January 1, 2010, New Hampshire will begin to allow marriages between same-sex couples.[10]

However there is new marriage discrimination in the law that states in section 457:4 that quotes;

Marriageable. No male below the age of 14 years and no female below the age of 13 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage that is entered into by one male and one female, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void. No male below the age of 18 and no female below the age of 18 shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage between persons of the same gender, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void.

That means heterosexuals can get married at a minimum age of 13 or 14, while homosexuals can only get married at a minimum age of 18.[11]

History on civil union and marriage legislation

On the 1 July 1987 both same-sex marriages and incest marriages became legally banned by adding "or any other male" in 457:1 Marriages Prohibited; Men and "or any other female" in 457:2 Marriages Prohibited; Women which was added to the following provisions within New Hampshire statutes called TITLE XLIII DOMESTIC RELATIONS CHAPTER 457 MARRIAGES Relationship

Since January 1, 2008, state law recognized same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions as civil unions, provided that the relationship does not violate the prohibitions of New Hampshire's civil unions law.[12]

On March 18, 2009, the New Hampshire House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted in a deadlocked vote 10-10 to send a same-sex marriage bill to the floor of the state's House of Representatives. The tied committee vote automatically stipulated a vote on the bill before the full House, but the Committee was not permitted to issue a recommendation on the bill as a result.

On March 26, 2009, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a same sex marriage bill. In the first vote the bill was failed on a 182-183 vote, but after the first vote, several representatives changed their minds under a motion to reconsider, and the bill passed 186-179.[13][14]

On April 23, 2009, the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 3-2 recommended that the full senate defeat the bill.

On April 29, 2009, the Senate approved an amended version of the bill 13-11.[15]

On May 14, 2009, Governor John Lynch said he would sign the same-sex marriage bill with some minor adjustments to the bill that do not require religious groups to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.[16]

On June 3, 2009, these adjustments were passed by the House and Senate as part of a companion bill[17], and the Governor signed the legislation into law shortly thereafter.[10]

A UCLA study estimates the impact of allowing same-sex couples to marry on New Hampshire’s state budget. The study concludes that allowing same-sex couples to marry will result in a net gain of approximately $500,000 each year for the State[18]. This net impact will be the result of savings in expenditures on state means-tested public benefits programs and an increase in meals and room tax revenues from increased wedding-related tourism.

Adoption and family planning

New Hampshire law allows a person, regardless of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, to adopt in New Hampshire. A law banning adoptions by gay parents was repealed in 1999.[19]

A 1987 state Supreme Court ruling by Justice David Souter stated that adoption laws are designed to give children one home "that is unified and stable." Subsequent interpretation of this ruling and other state laws by judges has varied, thus resulting in different rulings by county judges. Since 1999, all ten counties of New Hampshire legally allow adoption for any couple or individual who are stable and can care for children with a complete criminal record check being undertaken.

New Hampshire law allows any woman to undergo donor insemination. State law allows both married couples and civil unioned couples to enter into contractual agreements regarding surrogacy, if all contracting parties are at least 21 years of age and follow the rules set forth in the state statutes.[20][1]

Discrimination protections

Since 1998, New Hampshire law protects individuals from discrimination based only on sexual orientation [1] in:

  • Accommodations;
  • Housing;
  • Both private and public employment

There currently no laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. In 2009, a bill called House Bill 415 was introduced to the House and passed this to include the words 'gender identity' with sexual orientation in the Statutes by a vote of 187-188 [2], however three weeks later in the Senate the bill failed to pass by a vote of 24-0 [3].

Hate crimes laws

Since 2002, New Hampshire law covers hate crimes based only on sexual orientation [4] where sexual orientation is addressed in state statutes as "having or being perceived as having an orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality."[1] There are currently no laws prohibiting hate crimes on an individuals gender identity.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Human Rights Campaign. New Hampshire State Laws Human Rights Campaign. Accessed 24 April 2007.
  2. Title LXII of the NH Criminal Code: Chapter 632-A:3, Sexual Assault and Related Offenses
  3. Title LXII of the NH Criminal Code: Chapter 632-A:2, Sexual Assault and Related Offenses
  4. New Hampshire State Statute RSA 5-C:87. Accessed 14 December 2008.
  5. Moskowitz, Eric. (5 April 2007) N.H. House passes civil unions Concord Monitor. Accessed 11 April 2007.
  6. Wang, Beverley. (26 April 2007) State Senate approves civil unions for same-sex couples Concord Monitor. Accessed 26 April 2007.
  7. Liebowitz, Sarah. (5 March 2007) Gay unions could gain support Concord Monitor. Accessed 11 April 2007.
  8. AP. (31 May 2007) Lynch signs bill legalizing civil unions. Concord Monitor. Accessed 31 May 2007.
  9. AP. (16 May 2008) NH gay rights advocates react to CA legalizing gay marriage New Hampshire Union Leader. Accessed 16 May 2008.
  10. 10.0 10.1 http://unionleader.com/article.aspx?articleId=ac4816e1-7ac9-4694-b89c-b6174c8b6a87
  11. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2009/HB0436.html
  12. (4 April 2007) House Bill: 437-FN-LOCAL New Hampshire General Court (State Legislature). Accessed 29 August 2007.
  13. House Approves Same-Sex Marriage After Bill Initially Fails WMUR
  14. New Hampshire Takes Step Closer to Approving Same-Sex Marriage CNSNews.com
  15. Gay Marriage Could Come to N.H. New York Times
  16. http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/05/new_hampshire_g.html
  17. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/bill_status.aspx?lsr=317&sy=2009&txtsessionyear=2009&txtbillnumber=HB73
  18. http://repositories.cdlib.org/uclalaw/williams/badgett_7/
  19. Associated Press. (10 April 2006) Gay adoption policies vary by county in N.H The Boston Globe. Accessed 24 April 2007.
  20. Title XII: Chapter 168-B: Surrogacy NH RSA. Accessed 3 February 2007.

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