NH Law About... Same-Sex Marriage

Introduction to... Same-Sex Marriage

Updated May 23, 2017.

The “Read About …” section of this guide refers to resources about the law and will provide context and key terms. “Read the Law …” links to selected law on same-sex marriage in New Hampshire and should be used as a jumping off point for further research. “For More Help…” provides links to legal information programs, libraries, and legal assistance.

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ...  is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.  

Read about... Same-Sex Marriage


GLAD. How to Get Married in New Hampshire. July 2015.

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

On June 3, 2009, the New Hampshire General Court approved and Governor Lynch signed a marriage equality bill (House Bill 436, “An Act Relative to Civil Marriage and Civil Unions”) that extended the right to marry to same-sex couples effective January 1, 2010. This legislation also ended the ability of same-sex couples to enter into civil unions in New Hampshire on the same effective date and allowed any couples already in a New Hampshire civil union to enter into marriage. All still existing New Hampshire civil unions were automatically converted to marriages effective January 1, 2011.   GO>

VisitNH.gov. Getting Married in New Hampshire

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

Getting married in New Hampshire is a simple process. You will need to obtain a marriage license and have a ceremony performed by an approved officiant. You do not need to be a New Hampshire resident to married here, there is no waiting period to receive a license and you do not need witnesses to your marriage.   GO>


Making it legal : a guide to same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships & civil unions. Nolo, 2016  GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

Family law / by Charles G. Douglas. New Providence, N.J. : LexisNexis, 2014. 4th ed.   GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

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Read the law about... Same-Sex Marriage


RSA 5-C. Vital Records Administration  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

RSA 457. Marriages  GO>

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


169 N.H. 274 (2016). Matter of Munson

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

We ... hold that premarital cohabitation is a factor that the court may consider in divorce proceedings when determining whether to depart from the presumption that “an equal division is an equitable distribution of property." ... Here, the trial court found that, prior to entering into a civil union, the parties had lived together since 1993; “shared a joint account into which most of [their] funds were deposited and out of which the bills were paid”; “obtained personal property, decorated the home and acquired additional debt”; and filed with Munson's employer two “Affidavit[s] of Life Partnership ... to establish their rights as a couple”; among other things. However, the court apparently ignored these findings when it decided to depart from the statutory presumption, which suggests that it believed that it had no discretion to consider them. Although, until now, we have not expressly held that premarital cohabitation may be considered a factor under RSA 458:16–a, II, we conclude that, by not taking these findings into account, the court did not exercise the full breadth of its discretion under the statute.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>


133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013). U.S. v. Windsor

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

Two women then resident in New York were married in a lawful ceremony in Ontario, Canada, in 2007. Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer returned to their home in New York City. When Spyer died in 2009, she left her entire estate to Windsor. Windsor sought to claim the estate tax exemption for surviving spouses. She was barred from doing so, however, by a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which excludes a same-sex partner from the definition of "spouse" as that term is used in federal statutes. Windsor paid the taxes but filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of this provision. The United States District Court and the Court of Appeals ruled that this portion of the statute is unconstitutional and ordered the United States to pay Windsor a refund. This Court granted certiorari and now affirms the judgment in Windsor's favor.   GO>

135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015). Obergefell v. Hodges

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.   GO>


CRS Reports. Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage: Implications for Religious Objections. October 23, 2015 (R44244)

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

Obergefell v. Hodges: Federal Constitutional Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage -- Background: Current Religious Freedom Protections Generally -- Legal Protections for Marriage Officiants -- Religious Ceremonies -- Civil Ceremonies -- Objections to Issuing Same-Sex Marriage Licenses by State Officials -- Protection of Civil Employees' Religious Beliefs -- Statutory Exemption Available to Employees with Religious Objections to Same-Sex Marriage -- Potential Conscience Protections in Programs Receiving Federal Funds -- Civil Rights Concerns of Same-Sex Couples and Entities with Religious Objections -- Balancing the First Amendment with Nondiscrimination Laws Under Supreme Court Jurisprudence -- Religious Objections to Civil Rights of Same-Sex Couples -- Implications of Hobby Lobby and the Applicability of RFRA Protection for Businesses with Religious Objections -- Religiously Affiliated Social Service Providers' Participation in Publicly Funded Programs -- Role of Religious Providers and Federal Funding in Adoption and Foster Care Services -- Considerations for Potential Conditions on Funding That Involves Same-Sex Couples -- Adopting Faith-Based Funding Rules Related to Adoption and Foster Services Funding -- Conscience Clause Protections Related to Adoption and Foster Care -- Availability of Alternative Service Providers -- Potential Effects for Tax-Exempt Status -- First Amendment's Religious Clauses -- Illegality Doctrine -- Illegality Doctrine's Application in the Context of Same-Sex Marriage -- Application to Specific Organizations: Substantiality Requirement -- Implications for Congress.   GO>

Medicare.gov. Important information for individuals in same-sex marriages

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor [PDF, 375 KB], the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Medicare is no longer prevented by DOMA from recognizing same-sex marriages for determining entitlement to, or eligibility for, Medicare.   GO>

Social Security. Important Information for Same-Sex Couples

Link verified on: May 23, 2017

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states and have their marriage recognized by other states. This decision made it possible for more same-sex couples and their families to benefit from our programs.   GO>

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