Wednesday, July 16, 2014

N.H. Bill Protects Gay Couples


New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has signed a bill that fixes several legal gaps & obstacles for gay & lesbian couples who married or who plan to marry in that state. Although New Hampshire passed a marriage equality bill years ago problems remained in ensuring equal treatment of gay & lesbian couples who married or sought to marry in the state. Janson Wu, GLAD Senior Staff Attorney stated, “When it passed the marriage equality act, the legislature intended for same-sex married couples to be treated just like different-sex married couples. Unfortunately, because of conflicting laws, that has not always been the case. We applaud Governor Hassan & the bill’s lead sponsor, Senator Bette Lasky, for their work on this important bill.” Most importantly the bill, SB 394, repeals the state’s “reverse evasion law,” which had prohibited out-of-state couples from marrying in New Hampshire if their home state would not recognize the marriage. For those out-of-state couples who nonetheless were able to marry in New Hampshire this retroactive repeal removes any legal uncertainty about the validity of their marriage. Now any gay & lesbian couples can come to New Hampshire to marry, regardless of where they live. The law also clarifies that all New Hampshire’s family, marriage & divorce laws apply equally to both gay & straight couples regardless of any gendered language that might still remain in the law. Also 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.
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