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Amicus · Victory · Final Disposition on December 31, 2003

Blanchflower v. Blanchflower and Mayer

GLAD filed an amicus curiae brief in a divorce case addressing the question of whether the New Hampshire adultery provision as a fault-based ground for divorce includes same-sex extra-marital relationships. GLAD’ s brief argued that same-sex relationships are comparable to different-sex ones with regard to what matters to a marriage and, therefore, as a matter of policy, the adultery statute should include same-sex relationships. The purpose of submitting this brief was to ensure that the court was respectful of gay and lesbian relationships and, in the best of worlds, makes a positive statement about their value and worth.

The Court issued its opinion on November 7, 2003, ruling that the strict definition of adultery under the fault-based divorce statute is “coitus,” and that therefore any extra-marital intimacy other than that particular act—whether with a person of the same sex or different sex—is not adultery.  Both the majority opinion and the dissent made clear that this case was not about the status of same-sex relationships in society or any formal recognition same-sex relationships receive, and the opinions were both, on the whole, respectful of same-sex intimacy.