To ensure that New Hampshire's citizens and all Americans are treated equally under the law, Governor Maggie Hassan and Attorney General Mike Delaney announced today that New Hampshire has joined more than a dozen other states in two amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court defending the right to civil marriage for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.
"Throughout our history, every time we have sought to include all people in the life of our democracy, we have grown stronger," Governor Hassan said. "I'm proud that New Hampshire has led the way in ensuring marriage equality for all of our citizens, because encouraging strong marriages for loving couples strengthens families and communities. We are urging the Supreme Court to strike down these discriminatory measures because all New Hampshire married couples should receive fair and equal treatment from the federal government."
Although New Hampshire legally recognizes their marriages, same-sex couples continue to be discriminated against by the federal government. For example, same-sex spouses on a family health plan have to pay taxes on the coverage, while other married couples do not. Same sex couples cannot file their taxes jointly. Nor can they collect survivor benefits.
"First and foremost, this is a fairness and civil rights issue, but it is also an economic issue for our state, our businesses and our families," Governor Hassan said.
The briefs have been filed in two cases, Windsor v. United States, which challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriages. In the briefs, the states highlight that they have been strengthened by measures to provide marriage equality and argue that the DOMA and Prop 8 measures actually harm families by denying the multitude of legal and social benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and their children.
"Federal laws have for many years deferred to states on the issue of marriage. In order to protect New Hampshire's law and ensure the equality of New Hampshire's citizens we join other states on both amicus briefs," Attorney General Delaney said. "DOMA departs from tradition by seeking to define domestic relations through federal law, and compels New Hampshire to discriminate among our own lawfully married couples. New Hampshire has a compelling interest in ensuring we can protect the rights the legislature has provided to our citizens. In addition, we urge the Court to strike Proposition 8 down because all Americans have a right to fair and equal treatment."
Other states joining in the effort include Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington as well as the District of Columbia.