The Freedom to Marry in New Hampshire

Winning Marriage: January 1, 2010

Same-sex couples began marrying in New Hampshire on January 1, 2010 after Governor John Lynch signed a freedom to marry bill into law on June 3, 2009. Following the bill signing, opponents attempted to repeal the freedom to marry, but marriage supporters successfully defended the victory.

History and the Path to Victory:

  • July 17, 1987:  A state statute passed by the New Hampshire Legislature takes effect, restricting marriage to different-sex couples.
  • May 31, 2007: The New Hampshire legislature passes a state statute creating civil unions. This legislation marks a step forward in extending some of the protections and responsibilities – but none of the dignity and respect – that marriage provides.
  • 2008-2009: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in New Hampshire take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
  • June 3, 2009: New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signs the freedom to marry into law following its passage in the New Hampshire Legislature. The freedom to marry is set to take effect on January 1, 2010.
  • October 2011: Opponents of the freedom to marry in New Hampshire begin legislative attempts to repeal the freedom to marry law and replace marriage with civil union.
  • October 30, 2011: Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, the coalition to defend the freedom to marry in New Hampshire, launches with bipartisan support.
  • March 21, 2012: The bill to repeal the freedom to marry is defeated by a bipartisan vote, 211 to 116, with more than 100 Republicans voting against repeal.
  • January 15, 2014: Polling in New Hampshire tracks majority support for the freedom to marry, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, ending marriage discrimination across the country.

Groups That Actively Worked on Marriage

  • Standing Up for New Hampshire Families was a bipartisan group of citizens, business owners, people of faith, and civic leaders who oppose repealing the popular 2009 law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
  • Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression.
  • Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.