August 6, 2014
Updated August 6: GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Janson Wu joined Governor Hassan, primary sponsor Senator Bette Lasky, and members of Granite State Progress at a ceremonial signing of SB 394:
Although same-sex couples have been able to marry in New Hampshire since January 2010, GLAD has continued to hear from couples with questions and concerns about how their marriage is recognized in the state.
Despite the intentions of the marriage equality law, other pre-existing New Hampshire laws have meant these couples and their families have not always been treated equally to different-sex couples.
SB 394, signed into law by Governor Maggie Hassan on July 10, resolves several important issues of concern to same-sex couples, furthering the goal of full equality.
First, SB 394 assures that all same-sex couples who married in New Hampshire have valid marriages, regardless of where they lived at the time of marriage. In addition, if a New Hampshire couple had married outside New Hampshire prior to the time when same-sex couples could marry in New Hampshire (January 1, 2010), New Hampshire will consider the starting date of the marriage to be the date the marriage was solemnized.
Importantly, SB 394 also clarifies that all New Hampshire’s family, marriage and divorce laws apply equally to same-sex and different-sex couples, regardless of any gendered language that might still remain in the law.
Finally, N.H. couples who had entered into a civil union in another state no longer have to dissolve that civil union first before they are allowed to marry the same person in New Hampshire.
GLAD was pleased to work with SB 394’s lead sponsor, Senator Bette Lasky, and the legislature to address these key issues standing between New Hampshire’s same-sex couples and full equality.