New Hampshire Becomes Sixth State to Embrace Freedom to Marry

Freedom to Marry
June 3, 2009

New Hampshire’s Governor John Lynch today signed into law a freedom to marry bill approved by the Senate and House. The state now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine in ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage.

“New Hampshire has now become the third state to move past civil unions to marriage, recognizing that there is no substitute for the freedom to marry and equality for all,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry. “And Governor Lynch has become the latest moderate elected official to move to support the freedom to marry, providing a good example to, and continuing momentum for, the legislators now considering marriage bills in states such as New York and New Jersey.”

Gay couples can apply for marriage licenses starting January 1, 2010 when the law goes into effect in New Hampshire.

“Elected officials in states such as New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont have taken in the lessons from states such as Massachusetts and countries such as Canada – where same-sex couples have been marrying for five years now without using up the marriage licenses,” said Wolfson. “As we end exclusion from marriage, families are helped and no one is hurt.”

Freedom to Marry salutes the leadership of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition and all who worked tirelessly in the legislature and in the public to achieve equality in New Hampshire.

All eyes are now on New York and New Jersey, whose governors have pledged to sign the pending freedom to marry bills once they reach their desks. New York's Assembly passed the marriage bill in May, and political leaders from across the state, including New York City's Independent/Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have called on the State Senate to follow suit in the next few weeks. (Link)