New Hampshire Would be the Sixth What, Exactly?

Timothy Kincaid

May 8th, 2009

New Hampshire could be the sixth gay marriage something-or-other, but finding the language to fit is not a straight-forward task. Considering the methods by which states have reached (and retreated from) marriage rights, putting them in order depends on what one is measuring.

The order in which states have granted recognition to same sex couples

1. District of Columbia 1992 (blocked by Congress until 2002)
2. Hawaii 1997
3. California 1999
4. Vermont 1999
5. Connecticut 2005
6. New Jersey 2004
7. Maine 2004
8. New Hampshire 2007
9. Washington 2007
10. Oregon 2007
11. Maryland 2008
12. Iowa 2009
13. Colorado 2009

The order in which courts have found that states must provide marriage and/or all its rights and benefits to same-sex couples:

1. Hawaii 1993/1997 (reversed by Constitutional amendment)
2. Vermont 1999
3. Massachusetts 2003
4. New Jersey 2006
5. California 2008 (perhaps reversed by Constitutional amendment)
6. Connecticut 2008
7. Iowa 2009

The order in which states provided virtually all of the same benefits as marriage

1. Vermont 1999
2. California 2003 (with subsequent minor adjustments to fix differences)
3. Massachusetts 2003
4. Connecticut 2005
5. District of Columbia 2006 (with adjustment in 2008)
6. New Jersey 2006
7. New Hampshire 2007
8. Oregon 2007
9. Washington 2009
10. Maine 2009

The order in which legal marriages were first performed

1. Massachusetts – 5/17/2004
2. Iowa – 8/31/2007 (only one)
3. California – 6/16/2008
4. Connecticut – 11/4/2008
5. Vermont – 9/1/2009 (Scheduled)
6. Maine – around 9/14/2009 (Scheduled)

The order in which continuous legal marriages began to be offered

1. Massachusetts – 5/17/2004
2. Connecticut – 11/4/2008
3. Iowa – 4/27/09
4. Vermont – 9/1/2009 (Scheduled)
5. Maine – around 9/14/2009 (Scheduled)

And should New Hampshire\’s bill be signed, it will be sixth.


May 8th, 2009

How ’bout, the 6th state will same-sex marriage would be scheduled to be available?

Of course, CA any day could say same-sex marriage is back, screwing up every ranking.


May 9th, 2009

6th state to recognize kinship ;)

Thomas Kraemer

May 9th, 2009

The order in which legal marriages were first performed should include:

1. Minnesota May 18, 1970 (one legal same-sex marriage between Michael McConnell and Jack Baker was performed. Attorney Jack Baker believes his marriage is still legally valid because laws passed years later to outlaw same-sex marriages in Minnesota can’t be retroactive under ordinary constitutional law.)



Ken Bronson, “A Quest for Full Equality,” self-published May 18, 2004, p. 6-7, 48, from Ken Bronson’s Web site on Jack Baker’s marriage.

Disclosure: I was a member of Jack Baker’s gay liberation group.

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2009

Thomas, thanks for so very many years of activism. I didn’t include the McConnell/Baker marriage because the courts refused to recognize it. I also do not include the San Francisco Valentines Day marriages for the same reason.


May 11th, 2009

You forgot Alaska as one of the first states to go pro-gay when its court decided that same-sex marriage was a fundamental human right following Hawaii’s court (see Brause v. Alaska), a finding that was supported by Alaska’s Democratic governor but overturned immediately by a popular constitutional amendment in November 1998. Should read:

The order in which courts have found that states must provide marriage and/or all its rights and benefits to same-sex couples:

1. Hawaii 1993/1997 (reversed by Constitutional amendment)
2. Alaska 1998 (reversed by constitutional amendment)
3. Vermont 1999
4. Massachusetts 2003
5. New Jersey 2006
6. California 2008 (perhaps reversed by Constitutional amendment)
7. Connecticut 2008
8. Iowa 2009

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2009


Thank you for reminding us of the Brause case.

But I believe that that this case only was decided at the Superior Court Level. The Alaska Constitution was amended before the appeal at the Supreme Court level was heard.

But this does indeed illustrate the difficulty in making lists and in the language surrounding such lists. I said “the courts”, but wasn’t clear that I meant “the states’ highest courts”.

Had I been inclusive of all court decisions I would have to include those – such as New York – in which a lower court found for marriage but which was overturned by a higher court.

Which would also be an interesting list.

Thomas Kraemer

May 16th, 2009

I don’t believe any court ruling ever found Jack Baker’s 1970 marriage to be invalid. The U.S. Supreme Court merely said it was a state matter and they did not declare the marriage to be invalid. The state of Minnesota reacted to the Supreme Court ruling by passing an anti-gay marriage law, which can’t be retroactive under ordinary constitutional law. This is why Jack Baker still believes his marriage is valid. (He also legally adopted his partner.)

I agree the above point is a historical nitpick, but there needs to be another list of legally questionable gay marriages, which would include the early marriage claims of Rev. Troy Perry, which were not clearly documented as Jack Baker’s marriage.

Back in 1970, most gay liberationists thought Jack Baker was crazy to say gay marriage was the most important milestone in gay rights. Back then, hippies and feminists were rejecting straight marriage as being oppressive. Why would gays want to marry instead of having sexual freedom?

We now know that Jack Baker was right!

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