The bill became effective January 1, , simultaneously ending the availability of New Hampshire civil unions on the same date. On January 1, , all existing New Hampshire civil unions were transformed into marriages. Four years later, in Obergefell v. Supreme Court made marriage equality a reality nationwide when it held that the U. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.
Civil unions[ edit ] Following the first same-sex marriages in Massachusetts in May , New Hampshire established a member commission to consider the question of civil recognition of same-sex relationships. The group, composed of legislators, politicians, and activists, reported its findings in November By a 7-to-4 vote it recommended modifying the State Constitution to restrict marriage to heterosexual unions, reinforcing the state's statutory definition of marriage to prevent the judiciary from finding a constitutional requirement that same-sex couples be allowed to wed. Their report opposed as well the idea of civil unions like those recognized in Vermont in July The commission proposed instead certificates that would guarantee certain rights like hospital visitation, but no financial benefits. The certificates would be available to siblings, parents, and children as well. The commission members who dissented said it spent too much time hearings attacks on the morality of homosexuality.
After being one of the first states to pass a civil unions bill in , providing rights, such as the same state benefits accorded to married couples, to those in same-sex partnerships within the New Hampshire gay community, New Hampshire followed the lead of four other fellow New England states in furthering equal rights for all, by legalizing same-sex New Hampshire marriages. That action made it the sixth U. The bills became effective on January 1,
Civil unions[ edit ] Civil unions were only available to same-sex couples in New Hampshire. On April 4, , the New Hampshire House with a vote of to passed a civil unions bill which would imbue partners in same-sex civil unions with the same "rights, responsibilities and obligations" as heterosexual couples in marriages. By mid-May , over same-sex couples had formed a New Hampshire civil union. 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.