Although the country’s attention was, for the most part, focused upon the presidential election on November 4th, there were several ballot questions across the country regarding same-sex marriage. The most high profile was Proposition 8 in California, a ballot measure that passed and amended the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The passage of Prop 8 reverses In Re Marriage Cases, the California Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in the state this past June. Arizona and Florida also passed similar measures on November 4th, defining marriage as between one man and one woman with Prop 102 and Prop 2 respectively.
The election results highlight the vast divide throughout the country over same-sex marriage, with over twenty five states now banning same-sex marriage, two states allowing same-sex marriage and several states, including New Hampshire, allowing some form of civil union or domestic partnership. Additionally on a national level, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as it pertains to any Act of Congress or administrative rulings and regulations as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” With the wide disparity of laws from state to state, the inconsistency can leave families in legal limbo without a way to dissolve a legal relationship.
New Hampshire residents, thanks to the civil union statute, will not be left in legal limbo. If you have been married in another jurisdiction, or entered into a civil union, you may dissolve the relationship as though it were a civil union in New Hampshire.