Citizens weigh in on marriage license fee - 719 responses

Mar 09, 2015

Hidden tax, or a valid way to support a worthy cause? That was the question raised by HB 681, a bill recently passed by the NH House that adds $5 to the state marriage license fee to provide additional support to the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. On March 9, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members to share their views on the issue. 

In response to the question, "Should NH add $5 to the marriage license fee to fight domestic violence?", 75% of those providing a yes or no response expressed opposition to the added fee, with only 25% in favor. An additional 22% of total respondents opted not to give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to  broader issues. In sum, the LFDA received 255 specific comments and 464 concurrences for a total of 719 citizen responses. 

Those opposed to the added fee argued that donating to causes such as domestic violence support should not be mandated. "It should be an option to donate money." Others suggested alternate modes of supporting the cause. "Why not make those convicted of these crimes pay to fund these programs?" one commenter suggested. "Having people who actually want to pursue traditional marriage pay for this is wrong," argued another. 

Supporters of the added fee argued that the state needed more funding to fight domestic abuse. "These centers save lives, giving people in abusive relationships a sanctuary," one commenter said. "This would help protect entire families," another stated. A few respondents said they would support an even larger added fee, up to $20. 

Those who opted to discuss related issues debated the  best approaches to deterring domestic violence. "Change the laws to support women in need of protection. Take them seriously before the worst case scenario," one respondent said. Others called for the state to abolish marriage licenses entirely. "Why should you pay anything to get married? Why does the government have a say in marriage at all?"

Click here to view the full Facebook discussion for this question. 

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