New Hampshire Marriage Laws

457:37 - Affirmation of Freedom of Religion in Marriage


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New Hampshire Statutes ? Title 63: Domestic Relations ? Chapter 457: Marriages

Affirmation of Freedom of Religion in Marriage


Each religious organization, association, or society has exclusive control over its own religious doctrine, policy, teachings, and beliefs regarding who may marry within their faith. I. Members of the clergy as described in RSA 457:31 or other persons otherwise authorized under law to solemnize a marriage shall not be obligated or otherwise required by law to officiate at any particular civil marriage or religious rite of marriage in violation of their right to free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or by part I, article 5 of the New Hampshire constitution. II. No religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, shall be required to participate in a ceremony solemnizing marriage in violation of the religious beliefs of such organization, association, or society. III. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of his or her religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society. IV. The marriage laws of this state shall not be construed to affect the ability of a fraternal benefit society to determine the admission of members pursuant to RSA 418:5, and shall not require a fraternal benefit society that has been established and is operating for charitable or educational purposes and which is operated, supervised, or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the fraternal benefit society's free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and part I, article 5 of the New Hampshire constitution. V. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or construed to limit the protections and exemptions provided to religious organizations under RSA 354-A:18.

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Source. RS 147:8. CS 156:8. 1854, 1518:4. GS 161:7. GL 180:7. PS 174:13. PL 286:34. 1927, 45:1. RL 338:37. RSA 457:37. 1992, 243:2, eff. July 12, 1992. 2009, 60:7, eff. Jan. 1, 2010 at 12:01. a.m.; 61:1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2010 at 12:02 a.m.


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457:37


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