LGBT rights in New Hampshire
|This article is outdated. (October 2015)|
|LGBT rights in New Hampshire|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1975|
|Gender identity/expression||Transsexual persons may receive new birth certificate after sex reassignment surgery|
|Same sex marriage since 2010.|
|Adoption||Yes since 1999.|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of New Hampshire have nearly all the same legal rights as non-LGBT residents, however these were only recently acquired. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in New Hampshire, and the state began offering same-sex couples the option of forming a civil union on January 1, 2008. Civil unions offered most of the same protections as marriages with respect to state law, but not the federal benefits of marriage. Same-sex marriage in New Hampshire has been legally allowed since January 1, 2010, and one year later New Hampshire's civil unions expired and were converted to marriages.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Legislation against sodomy was repealed in June 1975 along with other reforms. The age of consent in New Hampshire is set at 16, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. The age of consent is 18 for relationships in which one party is under the care, guardianship or authority of the other. A 2003 New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling in Blanchflower v. Blanchflower found that adultery could not take place between two females.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Same-sex marriage in New Hampshire has been legal since January 1, 2010. Civil unions expired and all civil unions were converted to marriage on January 1, 2011.
Civil unions were 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. On April 26, 2007, the NH State Senate approved the civil unions bill 14-10 along political party lines.
Governor John Lynch, who opposed same-sex marriage but indicated that he was receptive to discussing civil unions as a means of granting certain rights to same-sex couples, 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." The law took effect on January 1, 2008.
As of mid-May 2008, over 300 same-sex couples had formed a New Hampshire civil union.
Since January 1, 2010, New Hampshire has allowed same-sex couples to marry. The law sets age minimums for participants in same-sex marriages that are different from those for opposite-sex marriage:
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.
Adoption and family planning
New Hampshire law allows a person, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, to adopt. A law banning adoptions by gays and lesbians was repealed in 1999, allowing all single persons to adopt.
In 1987, a ruling by New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice David Souter stated that adoption laws are designed to give children one home "that is unified and stable." Judicial interpretations of this ruling and state laws initially varied from county to county with some judges requiring adopting couples to be married. This resulted in inconsistency in the ability of same-sex couples, who could not legally marry, to adopt jointly. Once same-sex relationships obtained legal recognition in the state, all of New Hampshire's ten counties began allowing adoption by same-sex couples on the same terms as for opposite-sex couples.
New Hampshire law allows any woman to undergo donor insemination. The spouse of a pregnant woman is generally presumed to be the parent of her child. As a result, a child born to married lesbian parents will receive a birth certificate listing both women as the legal parents. State law permits surrogacy arrangements for same-sex couples intending to become parents and allows for the use of donated eggs in conjunction with surrogacy. Same-sex couples intending to become parents can receive a pre-birth order (PBO) directing that both their names be entered on the child's birth certificate when first issued.
Since 1998, New Hampshire law protects individuals from discrimination based only on sexual orientation in: accommodations, housing, and both private and public employment. There are no state laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. In 2009, House Bill 415 to add "gender identity" to the statute's categories passed the House on April 9 by a vote of 188-187, but was defeated in the Senate on April 29 by a vote of 24-0.
On March 13, 2014, the New Hampshire Senate unanimously approved a constitutional amendment that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Its adoption requires approval by 3/5 of the House of Representatives and by 2/3 of voters in the November 2014 elections. If adopted, New Hampshire would be the first state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution. The bill went to another committee for study and review.
Hate crimes laws
- William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201n, available online, accessed April 9, 2011
- "Title LXII of the NH Criminal Code: Chapter 632-A:3, Sexual Assault and Related Offenses". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "Title LXII of the NH Criminal Code: Chapter 632-A:2, Sexual Assault and Related Offenses". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "New Hampshire high court says lesbian sex not adultery". The Advocate. November 12, 2003. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- Moskowitz, Eric. (April 5, 2007) N.H. House passes civil unions Concord Monitor. Accessed April 11, 2007.
- Wang, Beverley. (April 26, 2007) State Senate approves civil unions for same-sex couples Concord Monitor. Accessed April 26, 2007.
- Liebowitz, Sarah. (March 5, 2007) Gay unions could gain support Concord Monitor. Accessed April 11, 2007.
- AP. (May 31, 2007) Lynch signs bill legalizing civil unions. Concord Monitor. Accessed May 31, 2007.
- AP. (May 16, 2008) NH gay rights advocates react to CA legalizing gay marriage New Hampshire Union Leader. Accessed May 16, 2008.
- "Same-sex marriage becomes law in NH". Unionleader.com. Retrieved December 5, 2013.[dead link]
- "HB 436-FN-LOCAL – FINAL VERSION". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "HB 90". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- Associated Press. (April 10, 2006) Gay adoption policies vary by county in N.H The Boston Globe. Accessed April 24, 2007.
- Title XII: Chapter 168-B: Surrogacy NH RSA.
- Catherine Tucker, FAQs About Surrogacy in New Hampshire, Accessed August 2, 2014.
- "HB 421". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "New Hampshire Chief Signs Gay Rights Bill". Nytimes.com. June 8, 1997. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "HRC" (PDF). HRC. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "Human Rights Campaign Praises New Hampshire Vote on Gender Identity Protections". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
- Caulfield, Christine (April 29, 2009). "NH Senate Rejects Transgender Rights Bill". Law360. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
- 2014 MEI report
- "N.H. Senate supports amending constitution to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation". Concord Monitor. March 14, 2014.
- "CACR17". New Hampshire General Court.
- "HB 1299 - Bill Text". Gencourt.state.nh.us. January 1, 1991. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "Docket of HB1299". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- Human Rights Campaign. New Hampshire State Laws Human Rights Campaign. Accessed April 24, 2007.
- New Hampshire State Statute RSA 5-C:87. Accessed December 14, 2008.
- New Hampshire State Laws regarding LGBT rights by Human Rights Campaign
- State drops fight over benefits for same-sex couples in Concord Monitor on May 8, 2007.
- Why NH Birth Certificates for Same-Sex Couples Are Not Good Enough June 8, 2014.