AN ACT relative to the definition of marriage.

SPONSORS: Rep. Bates, Rock 4; Rep. Kappler, Rock 2; Rep. Cebrowski, Hills 18; Rep. Sorg, Graf 3; Rep. Ulery, Hills 27; Rep. C. Vita, Straf 3; Rep. Silva, Hills 26; Rep. T. Smith, Merr 9; Rep. Gionet, Graf 3; Rep. Balboni, Hills 21; Sen. Groen, Dist 6; Sen. White, Dist 9

COMMITTEE: Judiciary


This bill prohibits same sex marriages.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT relative to the definition of marriage.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Marriage; Marriages Prohibited; Recognition of Out-of-State Marriages. RSA 457:1 – RSA 457:3 are repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

457:1 Purpose. The legislature finds and declares that:

I. Marriage is not a creature of statute but rather a social institution which predates organized government. As the United States Supreme Court has noted, marriage has roots that are “older than the Bill of Rights – older than our political parties, older than our school system.” Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 486 (1965).

II. As many scholars and experts have noted, marriage, understood as the legal union of a man and a woman, serves and supports important social goods in which the government of New Hampshire has a compelling interest.

III. The vast majority of children are conceived by acts of passion between men and women – sometimes unintentionally. Because of this biological reality, New Hampshire has a unique, distinct, and compelling interest in promoting stable and committed marital unions between opposite-sex couples so as to increase the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by both of their natural parents. No other domestic relationship presents the same level of state interest.

IV. A child has a natural human right to the love, care and support of his or her own mother and father, whenever possible. Marriage is the primary social institution that promotes that ideal and encourages its achievement.

457:2 Marriages Prohibited; Men; Women.

I. No man shall marry his mother, father’s sister, mother’s sister, daughter, sister, son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter, father’s brother’s daughter, mother’s brother’s daughter, father’s sister’s daughter, mother’s sister’s daughter, or any other man.

II. No woman shall marry her father, father’s brother, mother’s brother, son, brother, son’s son, daughter’s son, brother’s son, sister’s son, father’s brother’s son, mother’s brother’s son, father’s sister’s son, mother’s sister’s son, or any other woman.

457:3 Recognition of Out-of-State Marriages. Every marriage legally contracted outside the state of New Hampshire, which would not be prohibited under RSA 457:2 if contracted in New Hampshire, shall be recognized as valid in this state for all purposes if or once the contracting parties are or become permanent residents of this state subsequent to such marriage, and the issue of any such marriage shall be legitimate. Marriages legally contracted outside the state of New Hampshire which would be prohibited under RSA 457:2 if contracted in New Hampshire shall not be legally recognized in this state. Any marriage of New Hampshire residents recognized as valid in the state prior to the effective date of this section shall continue to be recognized as valid on or after the effective date of this section.

2 Marriageable. Amend RSA 457:4 to read as follows:

457:4 Marriageable. No male below the age of 14 years and no female below the age of 13 years shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage [that is entered into by one male and one female], and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void. [No male below the age of 18 and no female below the age of 18 shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage between persons of the same gender, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void.]

3 Marriage; Solemnization of Marriage. RSA 457:31 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

457:31 Who May Solemnize. Marriage may be solemnized by a justice of the peace as commissioned in the state; by any minister of the gospel in the state who has been ordained according to the usage of his or her denomination, resides in the state, and is in regular standing with the denomination; by any member of the clergy who is not ordained but is engaged in the service of the religious body to which he or she belongs, resides in the state, after being licensed therefor by the secretary of state; within his or her parish, by any minister residing out of the state, but having a pastoral charge wholly or partly in this state; by judges of the United States appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution; by bankruptcy judges appointed pursuant to Article I of the United States Constitution; or by United States magistrate judges appointed pursuant to federal law.

4 Solemnization of Marriage; Exceptions. RSA 457:37 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

457:37 Exceptions. Nothing contained in this chapter shall affect the right of Jewish Rabbis residing in this state, or of the people called Friends or Quakers, to solemnize marriages in the way usually practiced among them, and all marriages so solemnized shall be valid. Jewish Rabbis residing out of the state may obtain a special license as provided by RSA 457:32.

5 Repeal. The following are repealed:

I. RSA 100-A:2-b, relative to marriage.

II. RSA 457:31-b, relative to solemnization of marriage; applicability.

III. RSA 457:45, relative to civil union recognition.

IV. RSA 457:46, relative to obtaining legal status of marriage.

6 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.



Revised 02/07/11


AN ACT relative to the definition of marriage.