A bill has been filed in the New Hampshire state House that would end mandatory government licensing of marriages in the state, effectively nullifying in practice both major sides of the contentious national debate over government-sanctioned marriage.

HB1596 acknowledges the right of two individuals to marry and that because of this “it is improper for the government to license a right.”

“The state of New Hampshire is compelled to return to the practice of certificate of notice of intent to marry and a certificate of marriage which existed until 1997 and which provides interested parties the opportunity to object to a proposed marriage,” the bill reads.

Instead of having to get a state marriage license, couples would provide a certificate of notice of intent to marry and a certificate of marriage. The certificate of notice would require the following:

All persons proposing to be joined in marriage within the state shall place a notice of intent to marry in a newspaper not more than 90 days prior to nor less than 14 weeks prior to the date of the marriage.  The persons proposing to be married shall present the town clerk of either proposed spouse with a copy of the notice with all facts required by RSA 5-C:41 to be entered in any town clerk’s office.  The clerk shall record the notice in a book to be kept for that purpose and provide the parties proposing to marry with a certificate of notice of intent to marry.

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