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NH’s "Same Sex Marriage" Law "Discriminates" Against Polygamy

Date: Jun 04, 2009
Word Count: 750 words
Cross-Reference: same sex marriage, New Hampshire, "discrimination"


Contrary to its supporters' claims, New Hampshire's new same sex marriage law does not provide "equal access to marriage for all." While even surprisingly codifying marriage for monogamous heterosexual minors, the new law intentionally "discriminates" against polygamous consenting adults. 

On June 3, 2009, the State of New Hampshire became the sixth U.S. State to codify the legal construct of same sex marriage, enacting "HB 436, An Act relative to civil marriage and civil unions." 
 
The "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered" (GLBT) community hailed the new law as a civil rights victory. Declaring that the new law advances fairness and equality for all, they proclaimed that New Hampshire had supposedly "ended discrimination" for everyone. 
 
But the law did no such thing. Rather, it intentionally "discriminates" against consenting adult polygamists - indeed, on purpose. 
 
Previously, New Hampshire's RSA 457:1 and 457:2 established a combined anti-incest and anti-homosexual prohibition. "RSA 457:1 Marriages Prohibited; Men" banned a man from marrying a relative or another man. Likewise, "RSA 457:2 Marriages Prohibited; Women" prohibited a woman from marrying a relative or another woman. Banning only incestuous and same sex marriages, neither of the former statutory paragraphs mentioned polygamy at all. 
 
The new law (HB 436), however, completely changed the "man-only" applicability of RSA 457:1 by replacing it, instead, with the new re-definition of marriage as "2 individuals," "2 people," "regardless of gender." It was divided into two paragraphs, 457:1 and 457:1-a. 
 
The new "457:1 Purpose and Intent" paragraph now declares, "The purpose of this chapter is to affirm the right of 2 individuals desiring to marry and who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements of this chapter to have their marriage solemnized in a religious or civil ceremony in accordance with the provisions of this chapter." 
 
The newly added "457:1-a Equal Access to Marriage" paragraph declares, "Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 people. Any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of this chapter may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender. Each party to a marriage shall be designated 'bride,' 'groom,' or 'spouse.'" 
 
HB 436 also completely changed the "woman-only" applicability of RSA 457:2, making it the combined "Marriages Prohibited" paragraph. The new RSA 457:2 combined only the anti-incest prohibitions from the original 457:1 and 457:2 - while not listing the former same gender prohibitions. However, the new law then took the matter further, with intentional "discrimination." The new RSA 457:2 now ends with a newly added anti-polygamy provision. 
 
To wit, the new "457:2 Marriages Prohibited" now declares, "No person shall marry his or her father, mother, father's brother, father's sister, mother's brother, mother's sister, son, daughter, brother, sister, son's son, son's daughter, daughter's son, daughter's daughter, brother's son, brother's daughter, sister's son, sister's daughter, father's brother's son, father's brother's daughter, mother's brother's son, mother's brother's daughter, father's sister's son, father's sister's daughter, mother's sister’s son, or mother's sister's daughter. No person shall be allowed to be married to more than one person at any given time." 
 
The very last sentence there was completely new. Same sex marriage supporters had intentionally changed the combined anti-incest and anti-gay-marriage ban into a combined anti-incest and anti-polygamy ban instead. They intentionally re-directed the law to purposely "discriminate" against consenting adult polygamists - the clearly known bigotry of equating consenting adult polygamy with the biological dysfunction of incest. 
 
The matter gets worse. After purposely "discriminating" against consenting adult polygamists, the new law startlingly then allows for under-aged heterosexual marriage while it bans under-aged same sex marriage. 
 
Previously, the "RSA 457:4 Marriageable" paragraph had declared, "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, and all marriages contracted by such persons shall be null and void." 
 
To replace that language, the new law (HB 436) amended "RSA 457:4 Marriageable" to now declare, "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." 
 
Thereby, same sex marriage activists codified marriage for under-aged heterosexual minors while simultaneously "discriminating" against voting-age consenting adult polygamists, on purpose. 
 
In truth, therefore, New Hampshire's new gay marriage law does not end "discrimination" at all. It absolutely does not provide "equal access to marriage" for all. Rather, New Hampshire's new same sex marriage law intentionally "discriminates" against consenting adult polygamists. 


###


Bibliographic URLs:




Same-sex marriage becomes law in NH 
http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Same-sex+marriage+becomes+law+in+NH&articleId=ac4816e1-7ac9-4694-b89c-b6174c8b6a87 
 
 
New Hampshire Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage 
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/us/04marriage.html 
 
 
 
 
HB 436 - AN ACT relative to civil marriage and civil unions. 
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2009/HB0436.html 
 
HB 73 - AN ACT affirming religious freedom protections with regard to marriage and prohibiting the establishment of civil unions on or after January 1, 2010. 
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2009/HB0073.html 
 
 
 
New Hampshire Statutes - Table of Contents 
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/nhtoc.htm 
 
 
NH RSA CHAPTER 457: MARRIAGES 
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-XLIII-457.htm 
 
 
NH RSA 457:1 Marriages Prohibited; Men. 
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XLIII/457/457-1.htm 
 
 
NH RSA 457:2 Marriages Prohibited; Women. 
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XLIII/457/457-2.htm 
 
 
NH RSA 457:4 Marriageable. 
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XLIII/457/457-4.htm 
 
 
 
 
[Reviewed for publication - Pro-Polygamy.com Review Board.] 




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