State Laws Pertaining to Friends in New England

This text is a draft appendix from the Faith and Practice Revision Committee for the new Faith and Practice, the book that provides guidance for Friends in New England Yearly Meeting. It will eventually be replaced by updated material as the related chapters of Faith & Practice receive preliminary approval. In the meantime, you are invited to examine and try out the procedures outlined here and let the committee know what needs to be added or clarified. Please send comments and insights to [email protected].

(See p. 261 in NEYM Faith and Practice 1985)

[NOTE: Any statutes added since the 1985 F&P were located by searching for “church” or “religious”.]

There are several areas of law which might be of importance to Friends:

  • Laws pertaining to the incorporation of New England Yearly Meeting;
  • Laws pertaining to the incorporation of monthly meetings;
  • Laws pertaining to churches, church government, religious societies in general, or in some states “non-business” corporations;
  • Laws pertaining to property tax exemption;
  • Laws pertaining to military exemption;
  • Laws pertaining to Friends’ manner of marriage;
  • Laws pertaining to oaths/affirmations;
  • Laws pertaining to records (minutes, letters, etc.).

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut General Statutes Annotated: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/statutes.asp

  • Title 33 Chapter 598 Sections 243-264 (Corporations)
  • Title 12 Chapter 203 Section 81 (Property Tax Exemption)
  • Title 46b Chapter 815e Section 22 (Marriage)
  • Title 1 Chapter 4 Section 23 (Oaths)

MAINE

Maine Revised Statutes Annotated: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes

  • Title 13 Chapter 93 Section 2986 (corporations)
  • Title 36 Chapter 105 Section 652 (property tax exemption)
  • Title 19A Chapter 23 Section 658 (marriage)
  • Title 1 Section 72 (1A) (definition of affirmations and oaths)
  • Title 32 Chapter 19 Section 13856 (counseling professionals)
  • Title 22 Chapter 1071 Section 4011-A (required reporting of suspected abuse or neglect)

MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts General Laws Annotated: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/Search

  • Part I Title XI Chapter 68 Sections 10 (Overseers or trustees of monthly meeting of Quakers as corporation), and 11 (Monthly meeting of Quakers; appointment of trustees; powers and duties)
  • Part I Title XI Chapters 67 (Parishes and Religious Societies) & 68 (Donations and Conveyances for Pious and Charitable Uses)
  • Part I Title IX Chapter 59 Section 5 (property tax exemptions)
  • Part II Title III Chapter 207 Sections 38, 40, 42 (marriage)
  • Part III Title II Chapter 233 Section 17 (affirmation by Quakers in place of oath)
  • Part I Title X Chapter 66 Section 16 (surrender of church records)
  • Part I Title XVII Chapter 119 Section 21 (protection of children)
  • Part I Title IX Chapter 64H Section 6 (certain exemptions from sales tax)
  • Part I Title XVI Chapter 114 (cemeteries and burials)

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/default.html

  • Title XXIX Chapter 306, Section 11 (financial committee of Quakers as corporate body)
  • Title XXIX Chapters 306 (Religious Societies Generally), 307 (Sale, Repairs, Etc., of Meetinghouses), 308 (Dissolution)
  • Title V Chapter 72 Section 23 (tax exemptions)
  • Title XLIII Chapter 457 (Marriage) Section 37 (Affirmation of Freedom of Religion in Marriage)
  • Title XXVI Chapter 289 (cemeteries)
  • Constitution Part 2 Article 84 and Title I Chapter 21 Section 24 (affirmations by Quakers)

RHODE ISLAND

General Laws of Rhode Island: http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/statutes/

  • Title 7, Chapter 7-6 (non-profit corporations)
  • Title 44, Chapter 44-3, Section 44-3-3 (property tax exemption)
  • Title 15, Chapter 15-3, Section 15-3-6 (marriage)
  • Title 43, Chapter 43-3, Section 43-3-11 (oaths and affirmations)
  • Title 23, Chapter 23-18 (cemeteries)

VERMONT

Vermont Statutes Annotated: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutesmain.cfm

  • Title 11, Chapter 13 (Religious Societies)
  • Title 32, Chapter 125, Sections 3802, 3832 (exemption from taxation)
  • Title 18, Chapter 105 (marriage); Chapter 106 (civil unions); Chapter 121 (cemeteries) 
  • Title 12, Chapter 211, Section 5851 (affirmation/oaths)