Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Make a gift to NHPR and have a Valentine's message to a loved one read on air!
NH News

N.H. Reacts To Ruling On Defense Of Marriage Act

Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union Devon Chaffee says the ruling will have a significant positive impact for same-sex couples in the Granite State.

“After this decision, we’ll see same sex couples marries in New Hampshire and elsewhere being able to benefit from programs like family medical leave, social security survivor benefits and access to healthcare for spouses.”

Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Hampshire since 2010.

The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.

Chaffee says that while she is pleased with the decision, she adds there is still work to be done to bring marriage equality to every state.


Statements from the state's congressional delegation came quickly after the decision. One from Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said the country took a historic step forward with the ruling.

"I was proud to add my name to an amicus brief in this landmark case on the unconstitutionality of DOMA, and I am elated that all married Americans will be entitled to equal treatment under the law.”

Senator Jeane Shaheen's office wrote "this is a particularly great moment for many children of same-sex couples ... from this day forward these children will live in country that treats their parents as the equal citizens they are," but also noted that the ruling "doesn't mean we've won the fight for marriage equality."

Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster issued the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decisions reaffirm a bedrock principle that New Hampshire has long recognized: every American deserves equal treatment under the law. By striking down the discriminatory DOMA and returning marriage equality to California, the high court has come down squarely on the side of justice and equality for all Americans. This is a major victory and an enormous step forward in the march toward equality for our country, but our journey will continue until all Americans are treated equally under the law, no matter who they love.”


Governor Maggie Hassan:

“Today, the Supreme Court has affirmed the founding principle of the United States of America that all are created equal. Throughout our history, every time we have sought to include all people in the life of our democracy, we have grown stronger. Encouraging strong marriages for   all loving couples strengthens families and communities.

“Now, for the first time, all married couples, no matter their gender, will receive the fair and equal treatment under the law that they so rightly deserve. This will make a real difference in the lives of New Hampshire families who have been denied federal benefits, forced to pay higher taxes, and treated as less than equal.

“The American mission has always been to move forward, to build a brighter future by fully including all of the people in our society. Today’s rulings represent a historic step forward in that never-ending mission.”


The lawmaker who sponsored N.H.’s gay marriage legislation is praising today’s Supreme Court ruling. Former N.H. State Representative Jim Splaine of Portsmouth called the ruling an important step in a long battle. 

“The fight for equality never dies. We’ve seen the changes on this issue in the past 40 years, 30 years, 20 years, 10 years, five years. All of those fights were worth the cause when we eventually win. And we’re going to keep on winning more because the values of freedom and equality are something that you cannot resist.”

In 2009, Splaine, a Democrat, sponsored the legalization of gay marriage in N.H.