Live Free or Die: New Hampshire Becomes Sixth State To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

100px-Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svgflag-rainbow1And then there were six. The New Hampshire legislature has voted to recognize same-sex marriage joining five other states with such recognition in a continuing and encouraging trend among the states. Gov. John Lynch signed the bill soon after it was passed by the legislature. The question now is whether religious conservatives will try to stop states from determining their own matrimonial laws by passing a federal constitutional amendment.

One last minute snag was the original language of the bill that exempted members of the clergy from having to perform same-sex weddings. Gov. Lynch insisted that the legislature also exempt religious groups and their employees from having to participate in such ceremonies. It was a wise move that likely avoided at least one difficult issue in litigation and protected the rights of those who oppose such marriages on religious grounds. There was also a controversy involving the replacement of a Republican member by the Senate president, Sylvia B. Larsen, when he would not sign off on changes to the language (which requires unanimity under state rules).

The addition of New Hampshire will increase arguments by the religious right that other states will be forced to recognized thousands of such marriages under the full faith and credit clause. They will note that, even when California upheld Proposition 8 in banning same-sex marriage, the California Supreme Court preserved the marriage of thousands in that state that were completed before the proposition was passed. I do not agree that the full faith and credit clause clearly demands such recognition and it would be a political advantage for gays and lesbians not to push the issue at this time. There has been a long debate over existence and scope of an unexpressed exception under the clause for public policy differences between the states.

Of course, with Republican power on the wane, the religious right may try to rally the forces around a federal constitutional amendment — the ultimate rejection of state rights and federalism values in my view.

Currently, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine are states that recognize same-sex unions or marriages. Washington, D.C. has also voted to recognize such marriages. California does recognize marriages that occurred before Proposition but no longer allows such marriages to occur.

As I have written before, I believe that the solution to this debate is to be rid of the term “marriage” in public records and to adopt a universal “civil union” standard for all couples.

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12 thoughts on “Live Free or Die: New Hampshire Becomes Sixth State To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages”

  1. Since no religous authorities were consulted and the State of Oregon married my wife and I you propose to me that I should hand over the word marriage to the American Taliban? KMA. Ceding language is loss of the battle, period. Ask the Democrats how well it worked for them to allow the Republicans to define them. Despite their claims otherwise, mearriage is not a religous institution, whose license do you buy to do it?


  2. This would have failed a referendum, as would almost every other one of the rest of the states “legalizing” (LOL) gay “marriage”.

  3. I’d been wanting to look this up and just did. I searched under “homosexual agenda” and Dick Cheney at
    The American Family Association. Here’s what I got:

    “Search Results
    Results: 0 Items(s) containing dick cheney”

    That’s 6 states down for the plague of locusts!

  4. So Barack Obama thinks it important to fight for legislation that would enable Islamic women in America to wear a Hajib when in fact over 150,000 TIMES that number of women in Muslim countries don’t want to be FORCED to wear the Hajib their men demand they wear.

    Sheese, so in addition to hating America, Obama hates women, too.

  5. Let the government be out of the marriage business says Puzzling.

    why? what does it hurt to specify that couples apply for marriage licenses? Its a good way to raise a little revenue and protect the rights of married partners and their offpsring.

    as for dna tests… did anyone here but me have to have a blood test before getting their marriage licesne?

  6. The great State of Denial Dick Cheney is also not contra-gay marriage. Isn’t that 7?

  7. Mike A.,
    Don’t discourage me I’ve been counting on tissue regeneration for years now. You are right though because I remember thinking in 1970 that pot would be legal within 5 years. Maybe the only way older guys like us can successfully frame this is that we are taking part in an age old battle for the soul of humanity and that the fight will go on for many thousands of years, if not eons.

  8. I agree with Prof. Turley’s suggestion as a rational method of eliminating the church-state confusion that dominates debate on this issue. I also agree with Matthew N that public opinion has finally begun to forge a consensus for the gradual elimination of same-sex marriage bans. However, when I was 21 and breathing in the rarified air of ’60s liberalism, I was convinced that racism and bigotry would be largely defeated in my lifetime. I now recognize that I won’t be around long enough unless complete tissue regeneration becomes viable relatively soon.

  9. The tide is turning and at this point it is only a matter of time before everyone is looked at equally in the eyes of the law.

  10. I can only wish that in a short time the ravages of homophobia will be gone from our country. People can grow in outlook and people can feel empathy for another human being. Perhaps the usage of hatred as a political tool is finally going to end the hegemony of the Fundamentalist Right over the choice of public discourse.

  11. Better that government were out of the marriage business entirely.

    What future invasions of privacy could result from allowing government to keep this authority? Drug testing as a prerequisite to a marriage license? DNA testing? Genetic testing?

    Until society decides to free itself from a system whose genesis is found in the regulation of interracial marriage, at least the removal of government restrictions on same sex marriage is one large step in the right direction.

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