- Civil unions in New Hampshire
Civil unions in New Hampshire are permitted under state law between unrelated same-sex individuals and are intended to provide the same "'rights, responsibilities and obligations' as heterosexual marriage, differing in name only."Moskowitz, Eric. (
5 April 2007) [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070405/REPOSITORY/704050342 N.H. House passes civil unions] "Concord Monitor". Accessed 11 April 2007.] The first civil unions in New Hampshire took place after the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2008.Robidoux, Carolyn. ( 1 January 2008) [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Civil+unions+ring+in+the+New+Year&articleId=14ac2882-4f1a-4e06-ba4f-2335641e8286 Civil unions ring in the New Year] " New Hampshire Union Leader". Accessed 1 January 2008.]
After the 2006 Democratic takeover of the New Hampshire state legislature, several bills were considered which would grant same-sex couples greater
civil rightsin the state. Proposals were made by both Democratic and Republican politicians. The various proposals ranged from allowing couples to enter into a "contractual cohabitation," a "civil union," a "spousal union," or a same-sex marriage. Governor John Lynchopposes same-sex marriage, but did, through various spokesmen, indicate that he was receptive to discussing civil unions as a means of granting certain rights to same-sex couples. [ Liebowitz, Sarah. ( 5 March 2007) [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070305/REPOSITORY/703050309/1037/NEWS04 Gay unions could gain support] " Concord Monitor". Accessed 11 April 2007.]
April 4, 2007, the NH House passed a civil unions bill, HB437, with a vote of 243 to 129. The bill, if accepted into law, would imbue partners in same-sex civil unions with the same "rights, responsibilities and obligations" as heterosexual couples in marriages. Lynch stated on April 19, 2007that he would sign legislation granting civil unions to same-sex couples because he believes "...it is a matter of conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination." [AP. ( 19 April 2007) [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Lynch%3a+NH+should+have+civil+unions&articleId=08e0b32c-6259-4a90-bf98-7e1d20e0d2e8 Lynch: NH should have civil unions] "New Hampshire Union Leader". Accessed 19 April 2007.] On April 26, 2007, the NH Senate approved the civil unions bill 14-10 along political partylines.Wang, Beverley. ( 26 April, 2007) [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070426/REPOSITORY/70426002/1030 State Senate approves civil unions for same-sex couples] "Concord Monitor". Accessed 26 April 2007.] On May 31, 2007, Governor John Lynch signed the civil unions bill into law,AP. ( 31 May, 2007) [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070531/BREAK/70531001/1030 Lynch signs bill legalizing civil unions] . "Concord Monitor". Accesed 31 May 2007.] making New Hampshire "...the first state to embrace same-sex unions without a court order or the threat of one." The law took effect January 1, 2008.AP. ( 31 May, 2007) [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070531/BREAK/70531001/1030 Lynch signs bill legalizing civil unions] . "Concord Monitor". Accesed 31 May 2007.] [ [http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/index/indexstatus.asp?expbillno=hb0437&txtsessionyear=2007 HB 437 Bill Legislative History] New Hampshire General Court. Accessed 14 February 2008.]
Licenses were made available on
December 10, 2007Fahey, Tom. ( 25 November 2007) [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=State+House+Dome%3a+Date+set+for+civil+union+licenses&articleId=7bc05b33-8ba8-456e-b22a-4a2489d855df State House Dome: Date set for civil union licenses] " New Hampshire Union Leader". Accessed 25 November 2007.] [AP. (25 November 2007) [http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/N/NH_CIVIL_UNIONS_LICENSE_NHOL-?SITE=NHCON&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Civil unions license available by Dec. 10] "Concord Monitor". Accessed 25 November 2007.] such that civil unions could be sealed starting at 12:01 am on January 1, 2008. Deputy secretary of state David Scanlan said, "As far as we're concerned, everything is on schedule."
Civil unions took place throughout New Hampshire just after midnight on
January 1, 2008. The largest gathering occurred in Concord, on the steps of the State House. Twenty-three couples were expected to participate in the event, however, an estimated 40 actually took part, and some 200-300 friends, family and onlookers observed. The event drew one protestor who "...quietly handed out a statement calling all sex outside of heterosexual marriage a sin..." [Timmins, Annmarie. (1 January 2008) [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080101/BREAK/694276159/1030 Same-sex couples say 'I Do' just after midnight] "Concord Monitor". Accessed 3 January 2008.]
Under the New Hampshire civil unions law, same-sex civil unions or marriages conducted in other states will be recognized as civil unions in New Hampshire. House Bill 1415 was introduced by Representative Maureen Mooney to repeal this portion of the current civil unions bill and was ultimately deemed inexpedient to legislate. [(
31 December 2007) [http://www.wmur.com/news/14953802/detail.html Midnight Ceremonies Mark Civil Unions] WMUR-TV. Accessed 3 January 2008.] [ [http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2008/HB1415.html HB 1415 Text] New Hampshire General Court. Accessed 3 January 2008.] [ [http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/index/indexstatus.asp?expbillno=hb1415&txtsessionyear=2008 HB 1415 Legislative History] New Hampshire General Court. Accessed 14 February 2008.]
Despite the civil union law intending to provide "all the rights and subject [a couple] to all the obligations and responsibilities provided for in state law that apply to parties who are joined together," [ [http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2007/hb0437.html HB 437-FN-L Text] New Hampshire General Court. Accessed
3 January 2008.] only some benefits, and some limitations, shall exist. [( 31 December 2007) [http://www.wmur.com/news/14951591/detail.html N.H. Civil Unions Have Protections, Pitfalls] WMUR-TV. Accessed 3 January 2008.] AP. ( 2 January 2008) [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080102/FRONTPAGE/801020301 Benefits and pitfalls for gay couples] "Concord Monitor". Accessed 3 January 2008.] [AP. ( 2 January 2008) [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-unions_summboxjan01,1,7790043.story?ctrack=1&cset=true N.H. same-sex unions: promise and reality] " Chicago Tribune". Accessed 3 January 2008.]
* Access to medical care information and decision making;
* Access to proceedings and information related to partner's death, and ability to make funeral arrangements;
* Right to be placed in the same room in a nursing home;
* Health care coverage under state-regulated family plans;
* State pension benefits;
* Inheritance without a will;
* Ability to transfer property between partners without paying state taxes;
* Ability to change names by showing civil union certificate to government agencies, banks, etc. and simply stating a name preference;
* Pay or receive alimony and/or child support ordered by a court in a divorce;
* Ability to adopt as a stepparent.
* Legal status only recognized in certain states;
* Unclear divorce proceedings should one or both partners move out-of-state;
* If partner's death occurs out-of-state, unclear whether surviving partner may obtain death certificate and claim body;
* Entering into a civil union triggers "
Don't ask, don't tell" for military personnel, and expulsion from the military;
* Employers governed by federal laws are allowed to provide health and other benefits only to heterosexual couples;
* Partners are treated as unmarried adults under more than 1,100 federal laws;
* May jeopardize a couple's ability to adopt overseas;
* Federal privacy laws can prohibit access to some medical care information without durable power of attorney.
LGBT rights in New Hampshire;Same-sex marriage
* In the United States
* Legislation in the US
* In the US by state
* Public opinion
* Status by state;Marriage in US
List of benefits of marriage in the United States
Defense of Marriage Act
Marriage Protection Act
Defense of marriage amendment
Federal Marriage Amendment
Domestic partnerships in the United States
Freedom to Marry Coalition
History of civil marriage in the U.S.
* [http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2007/hb0437.html HB 437 Bill Text]
* [http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/index/indexstatus.asp?expbillno=hb0437&txtsessionyear=2007 HB 437 Bill Legislative History]
* [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070508/REPOSITORY/705080336 State drops fight over benefits for same-sex couples] in "
Concord Monitor" on 8 May 2007.
* [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070506/REPOSITORY/705060311 Gay couples learn that union isn't the same as marriage] in "
Concord Monitor" on 6 May 2007.
* [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071117/FRONTPAGE/711170342 Civil unions catching clerks off guard: State prepares to offer licenses next month] in "Concord Monitor" on 17 November 2007.
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