New England

New England

Each of the six states of New England possesses unique geography, resources, and history. America as we know it today has its roots in the region’s history, which makes New England a fascinating place to visit. Coastlines, mountains, and lakes are destinations; you are free to choose the flavor by choosing the state. Same-sex marriage is now legal everywhere in New England. Transgendered persons have protections against discrimination in the six states, and may change gender on their birth certificates (some states require gender reassignment surgery, Rhode Island and Vermont do not). Given these rights and protections afforded the LGBT community, New England is a welcoming place to live and visit.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has long been a destination state for the LBGT community. Provincetown comes to mind, with its festive summertime atmosphere. For years, Northamption, a college town in the western part of the state, has offered a sense of place for lesbians and their families. The groundbreaking decision that made Massachusetts the first in the country to allow same-sex marriage undoubtedly brought couples here to marry. For those who may have stayed and everyone who identifies as LGBT, the openness of Massachusetts was and is the backdrop enhanced by dunes and Atlantic surf, fishing ports, rolling countryside, and the Boston skyline. Add in layers of history, and culture for good measure.

Maine

Maine is the largest state in New England, and offers a diverse geography. Acadia National Park is the epitome of the state’s many features – ocean views, rocky coastlines, islands, forests, mountains, and lakes. Coastal areas, such as Bar Harbor and Kennebunkport, are known as vacation destinations. Ogunquit is particularly gay-friendly. For those who enjoy remote locations, Maine has large uninhabited areas of forests in its interior. Maine is known for its lobsters and clams, its potatoes and lumber- elements that have varied in importance over time, but only serve to enhance its reputation. Maine has not followed a direct path to same-sex marriage, (in 2009, the state enacted a law, which was repealed by voters) although the same-sex marriage was again approved in 2012.

New Hampshire

The Old Man of the Mountain no longer looks down on New Hampshire’s Franconia notch, but the iconic rock formation shaped like a man’s profile will always represent New Hampshire, as does the state’s motto “Live free or die.” To be honest, living free didn’t always translate into live and let live. Fortunately, this has changed, as New Hampshire has allowed same-sex marriage since 2010, with a repeal effort going down to defeat in 2012. With openness setting the stage, a visit to New Hampshire may involve a day at the shore, or a camping trip into the world-renowned White Mountains, or skiing, whether in snow or water (the state is known for its lakes). For those who love the outdoors, New Hampshire offers back-road and off-road opportunities in every season.

Vermont

Vermont is more than maple syrup and ski resorts, more to the point, the state possesses a uniquely beautiful landscape of mountains and valleys, year-round recreation, and an unhurried lifestyle. The Green Mountain State, Vermont’s nickname, is a perfect description of summer here. Vermont may be rural, but you can find cities, albeit small ones. Burlington is the largest, with a population of some 42,000, and offers in microcosm much of what any metropolitan area would offer, such as economic opportunity and the arts. Similar to New Hampshire, Vermonters pride themselves on being independent, even electing a socialist to Congress. Gay marriage has been legal since 2009, enacted by the legislature, and not decided by the courts.

Connecticut

Connecticut is a state of opposites: rural in the north, and metropolitan in the south; a hilly border with Massachusetts and a coastline on Long Island Sound. Maritime and agricultural pursuits, and the industries of finance and insurance indicate the varied nature of Connecticut’s economy. The Connecticut River, after which the state is named, bisects the state from Massachusetts to the seashore. Most of Connecticut’s population lives in what is actually part of the New York City metro area. Interstate 95 runs close to the shoreline from Rhode Island to the New York border, and clearly delineates the progression of countryside to city. However, Connecticut’s demographic and geographical range does not hide the fact that the state belongs to New England and in most places looks the part with horse farms and town greens. The LGBT community can be reassured by the fact that same sex marriage has been legal since 2008.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country. In fact, the width of the state at 37 miles is only a few more miles than the distance of the Boston Marathon. The Ocean State, the name that Rhode Island goes by, is a good description of how inlets and bays extend the coastline’s reach into the state. Beaches, the magnificent mansions in Newport, and a penchant for sailing and sailboats are elements of life in the state. Textile manufacturing was once a leading industry, as was costume jewelry and silverware. Although these industries are still represented in a limited way, health care and tourism are the main economic players today. Rhode Island came late to legalizing gay marriage, ten years after the court decision in Massachusetts, in 2013.