What is the current status of liberty in NH?

In the topic “What can be done to make NH the most libertarian state” I compared statutes of all fifty states.

Lately I have heard comments about PorcFest, an ostensibly “liberty” event, getting more and more restrictive. The most often heard complaint is the creation of a gun-free zone to satisfy a politician, so that they could get the politician to appear at PorcFest.
Another is the issue of nudity and toplessness. Apparently they are cracking down on them, pushing them into narrower and narrower spaces, so that no-one will be offended.

My own feeling is that if someone wants to attend PorcFest, they should either accept the liberty, or not come. That goes for both celebrities and ordinary citizens.

This topic will examine the liberties, or lack thereof, that are currently in force in NH.

Essentially all questions regarding nudity and related liberties refer to NH RSA
Title LXII Criminal Code
Chapter 645:1 Public Indecency
Section 645:1 Indecent Exposure and Lewdness
I. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if:
(a) Such person fornicates, exposes his or her genitals, or performs any other act of gross lewdness under circumstances which he or she should know will likely cause affront or alarm; or,

(b) Such person knowingly transmits to another, who is 16 years of age or older, an image of himself or herself fornicating, exposing his or her genitals, or performing any other act of gross lewdness, when the recipient does not consent to receipt of the image.

II. A person is guilty of a class B felony if:
(a) Such person, under circumstances that may be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal, purposely fornicates, exposes his or her genitals, or performs any other act of gross lewdness knowing that a child who is less than 16 years of age is present.
(b) Such person purposely performs any act of sexual penetration or sexual contact on himself or herself or another in the presence of a child who is less than 16 years of age.
(c) Such person purposely transmits to a child who is less than 16 years of age, or an individual whom the actor reasonably believes is a child who is less than 16 years of age, an image of himself or herself fornicating, exposing his or her genitals, or performing any other act of gross lewdness.
(d) Having previously been convicted of an offense under paragraph I, or of an offense that includes the same conduct under any other jurisdiction, the person subsequently commits an offense under paragraph I.
III. A person shall be guilty of a class A felony if having previously been convicted of 2 or more offenses under paragraph II, or a reasonably equivalent statute in another state, the person subsequently commits an offense under this section.

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I think that in regards to “the current status of liberty in NH” … Porcfest is not an important factor.

In general I think NH is better than most other US states…
better than other New England states on most things …
better than, most of the Northeast, on everything

I would say the NH is better than most countries in North America. I wonder how we would rank compared to the rest on different metrics.

The topic was originally suggested because of what I have been hearing about
PorcFest, that’s all.

When I compared the states of the US on stuff in the criminal codes, NH was
pretty good. I believe it was Mississippi that had got rid of marriage licenses,
per se, and had gone to simply registering a marriage with the state. Ohio
had got rid of sexual incest, but incestuous marriages were still criminalized.
These were the two areas that some other state bested us.
WRT sexual incest, the states are about evenly split on the question of sex
with between first cousins, and NH still criminalizes sex between first cousins,
and the domestic relations (I think) statutes prohibit marriage between cousins.

When it comes to the countries of North America, it is confusing. Canada has
different allowances for each province, and since I don’t read Spanish, I was
unable to read the law for Mexico, which also is divided into “states”. So
we can’t really compare NH to Canada and Mexico, rather, we would have to
compare NH to the individual provinces and states in Canada and Mexico.

The following info might have changed since the latest readily available was published.
As a general overview, Canada sexual age of consent is 16, with Romeo and Juliet laws in place. The Romeo and Juliet laws allow minors who are close in age to escape prosecution for statutory rape. An exception to the laws allows a person as young as 12 to escape statutory rape laws.
As a general overview, Mexico sexual age of consent is 17, with Romeo and Juliet laws in place. The Romeo and Juliet laws allow minors who are close in age to escape prosecution for statutory rape. Statutory rape laws vary from age 18 down to age 14 in one of the states.

In Canada, sexual incest laws have a narrow range… grandparents, parents, and siblings are the only ones prohibited.
In Mexico, sex between consenting adults is legal, regardless of consanguinity.

Marriage age throughout the United States is 18, with the exception of Mississippi (21) and Nebraska (19).
Canada and Mexico are the same.
Most Caribbean states are 18, but it appears to be 21 in Puerto Rico,16 in
Cuba, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and 15 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
This is the age at which a person can marry without consent of parents or the courts.

The relationship between sex and marriage is likely due to historical considerations of bastardy and legitimacy/illegitimacy. NH still has
some mention of legitimate/illegitimate in the statutes.
As an example of weird relationships, in Ohio sexual incest is not prohibited, but marriage incest is still on the books. This means that incest outside of marriage is permitted, but not incest within the marriage.

If we look at 645 above, things become circular. All attempts to find
definitions of the words used in the statute result in circular language.
There aren’t definitions even for “genitals”, lewd, or fornication in the
statute, and referral to law dictionaries doesn’t help much. The meanings
of these terms is assumed to be well-known to everyone.

The United States pays more homage to the flag, it seems, than any other country.
But in fact there are many countries around the world that prohibit flag desecration. Sometimes it is only that country’s flag that is protected.
In NH, desecration of the state or national flag, per se, is not prohibited, but if you burn a flag that belongs to someone else, or is being displayed according the rules set up, that is criminal.

If we look outside of North America, age of consent laws are different.
In any age of consent situation, the Romeo and Juliet laws make exception
under the law… persons subject to these laws cannot be prosecuted for
statutory rape. At or above age of consent persons are considered able
to give consent.

There are countries without age of consent laws, but in these countries
sex outside of marriage is prohibited. Countries with this prohibition are
all countries where Islam is predominant. That does not mean that in
countries where Islam is predominant sex outside of marriage is prohibited.

The lowest age of consent I have found is for Nigeria, age 11. Almost all of the
countries with age of consent between 11 and 13 are found in Africa, the two
exceptions being the Philippines and Japan.
An age of consent of 14 can be found in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and South America.
An age of consent of 15 can be found in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania.
An age of consent of 16 can be found in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania.
The number of countries with an age of consent of 17 is only 4.
An age of consent of 18 can be found in countries in Africa, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania.
Only four countries have an age of consent of 19-21.

If we look at Europe, over a dozen countries have age of consent at 14. A few fewer have age of consent of 15. 20 or so have age of consent at 16. Only a handful have age of consent over 16, including Ireland and Vatican City.

NH age of consent is 16, with Romeo and Juliet laws governing down to 13 years of age.

Note that both the highest age of consent and the lowest age of consent can be found in Africa. This might well be related to the degree of colonization by European nations.
British colonization might also account for other countries having lower or higher ages of consent. The British influence is noticeable in all English-speaking countries around the world, including US, Canada, and Australia.

In the United States, the rise of the welfare state had the effect of suppressing sex among the young. The government did not want to have to support the children of children. Over the years, as the cost of medical treatment and basic support like food and housing have increased, and the number of people on welfare increased, the age of consent rose.
The welfare state was not the only historical influence. There was a time, historically, when age of consent laws did not even exist in Europe, and probably other places as well. See the following site for a timeline of the age of consent in the US.

There was a time in England, less than a thousand years ago, when it was believed that a boy of twelve could not commit rape. There were no age of consent laws at the time.

Even marriage was rather informal. The development of the idea of being “engaged” is interesting. In Britain, way back when, there were not enough clergy around to sanctify marriage on a regular basis, so a couple had to wait for a traveling priest to arrive to do the job. The time between the agreement of the persons involved and the time a priest could get there to sanctify the marriage was called the period of “engagement”. Even then, many “weddings” did not occur inside the church, but rather just outside the church.
Marriage was carried on by the powerful in an effort to cement their power and control, sometimes even promising marriage between offspring even before they were born.
Later, marriages were recorded by local churches. In the case of some heretical groups all you needed was consent of your local priest to the arrangement, and then the couple moved in together. Sex before marriage was common, as reflected in the development of the “penitentials”.

In 2/3 of the countries around the world, there is a discrepancy between the age of marriage and the age of consent. In a few countries, including Ireland and Mexico, the age of consent differs from the marriageable age by only 1 year.
In the Philippines, the difference is 9 years.
In a handful of countries the age of consent is actually higher than the marriageable age by a year or two. These include two countries in the Caribbean.
In 30 or so countries the age of consent is the same as the marriageable age. This includes the countries in which sex outside of marriage is prohibited.
Note that in Afghanistan, “marriageable” is simply defined as “having reached puberty”, which might differ from person to person.
The marriageable ages are for men who do not need the consent of parents. In many (most?) instances women may marry at a younger age.
In Europe the ages for marriage are governed largely by compacts such as the European Union. The intent was to reduce forced marriages.

In NH, the legal age to marry without consent of anyone else is 18.

All in all, the control of both marriage and sex by the state has increased rapidly over the last 500 years or so.

There are so many factors to consider in both age of consent and marriageable age, and the relationship between these two with regard to inheritance (bastardy would rule you out of ascension to most thrones), economics, religion, colonization, etc. that it would take a long time to consider everything, and require much much more study.
But above are the bare outlines of how NH compares with the rest of the world.

Previous posts comparing the marriage and sex question have been extended to the international level in the previous post. However, the question of “indecent exposure” has not yet been explored. The question is difficult.
I have written, rewritten, then rewritten again this post.

The question as it applies to indecent exposure, and to RSA 645, falls into two separate categories:
what constitutes nudity, and under what circumstances does simple nudity fall under indecent exposure laws.

There are three separate subcategories of nudity:
genital exposure
exposure of the anus
exposure of the female nipple below the top of the areola

The following states include genitals, anus, and female nipple in the statutes:
Delaware (buttocks) Louisiana (including pubic hair, anus, vulva, female nipple)
Utah (includes buttocks)

The following states include genitals and anus in the statutes:
North Dakota
South Dakota
West Virginia
Wisconsin (including pubic area)

Some states include only genitals:
Iowa (including pubic area)
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Rhode Island

Tennessee includes genitals (including pubic area) and female nipple, without specifying anus

Many states statutes are not specific:
California – private parts
Colorado – intimate parts
Connecticut – exposure of the body
Indiana – just says “nudity”
Michigan – defines indecent exposure as “indecent exposure”
Mississippi – exposure of person or private parts
Montana – genitals or intimate parts
Nevada – indecent or obscene exposure
New Jersey – intimate parts; genitals
New York – private or intimate parts, including female breast
North Carolina – private or intimate parts
Ohio – private parts
South Dakota – exposes his person
Virginia – exposure of person, or private parts
Washington – exposure of his person
Wyoming – intimate parts

States in which the statutes criminalize simple nudity, as characterized in the previous post:
Hawaii – criminal only if the exposure is to a person to whom the actor is not married
Iowa – exposure of genitals or pubic area to someone not the persons spouse
New Hampshire – the only state that a priori assumes that simple nudity is lewd behavior
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington – open and obscene exposure of the person; obscene not defined
West Virginia

Some statutes criminalize simple nudity if the intent is to arouse or gratify sexual desire.
New Jersey
North Dakota
Rhode Island

Statutes that criminalize lewd nudity (sometimes called “lewdity”), only if there is some overt sexual act or sexual conduct. These states do NOT criminalize simple, non-sexual nudity, at least not under indecent exposure statutes (or any other statute that I can find).
New Jersey
Rhode Island
Vermont – A note at FindLaw for Vermont states: “Vermont has statutes that describe the penalties for open lewdness and open lewd and lascivious conduct, but the statutes do no define lewd or lascivious conduct.
However, Vermont courts have held that these crimes must include a sexual motivation and exposure.

It has been difficult to find country-by-country laws on nudity around the world.
Beyond that, for both nudity and sex, popular practice often is a better indicator
of what’s actually going on.

For public nudity, see

For sexual behavior, see

After looking at the map for topless/nude sunbathing I have to admit that it’s not very accurate.
Massachusetts and Florida are in amber, yet there might be more nudist beaches in these two
states, in my experience, than in the rest of the country combined. Yet, New Hampshire has no
nude beach (except the one at the only landed nudist camp in the state) and they are in green.
Granted that Hampton Beach allows topless sunbathing.
Reading the comments in this article, it is obvious that someone didn’t do enough research.

It must be remembered that often laws remain on the books long after they
have been declared unconstitutional, or after a high state court has rendered
them moot. We have seen this in the case of same-sex marriage laws, and
more recently with abortion laws.

With that in mind, I am appending here transcriptions of the actual laws affecting
nudity in the fifty states. It was these that I used to come up with the lists posted
above. Please feel free to post any corrections to the lists.
The file was composed in OpenOffice.

Untitled 2.odt (32.9 KB)