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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN PA: WHAT TO KNOW

In our world of today, changes ranging from technological advancement to new human policies have become the order of the day. Things, acts and events that weren’t in existence has been introduced, generally accepted and practiced all over the world. One such act is the same-sex marriage act and New Jersey is not left out in the approval of such act and adding it to her constitution. Though this law is accepted and written in the country’s constitution the states in new jersey is yet to accept and practice the act of same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in the U.S. state of New Jersey since October 21, 2013, the effective date of a trial court ruling invalidating the state’s restriction of marriage to persons of different sexes.

In September 2013, Mary C. Jacobson, Assignment Judge of the Mercer Vicinage of the Superior Court, ruled that as a Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in the U.S. state of New Jersey since October 21, 2013, the effective date of a trial court ruling invalidating the state’s restriction of marriage to persons of different sexes.

In September 2013, Mary C. Jacobson, Assignment Judge of the Mercer Vicinage of the Superior Court, ruled that as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in the United States v. Windsor, New Jersey’s Constitution requires the state to recognize same-sex marriages. The Windsor decision held that the Federal Government was required to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples who were married under state law as to other married couples. Therefore, the state court reasoned in Garden State Equality v. Dow, because same-sex couples in New Jersey were limited to civil unions, which are not recognized as marriages under federal law, the state must permit civil marriage for same-sex couples. This ruling, in turn, relied on the 2006 decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis v. Harris that the state was constitutionally required to afford the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court had ordered the State Legislature to correct the constitutional violation, by permitting either same-sex marriage or civil unions with all the rights and benefits of marriage, within 180 days. In response, the Legislature passed a bill to legalize civil unions on December 21, 2006, which became effective on February 19, 2007.

In 2012, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, but it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

Following the trial court decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow, the Christie administration asked the state Supreme Court to grant a stay of the decision pending appeal. On October 18, 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously denied the request for a stay. Three days later, on the day the trial court ruling went into effect and local officials had begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and some wedding ceremonies had been performed, the Governor withdrew the state’s appeal. This action removed the last potential impediment to same-sex marriages in the state. The result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in the United States v. Windsor, New Jersey’s Constitution requires the state to recognize same-sex marriages.

The Windsor decision held that the Federal Government was required to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples who were married under state law as to other married couples. Therefore, the state court reasoned in Garden State Equality v. Dow, because same-sex couples in New Jersey were limited to civil unions, which are not recognized as marriages under federal law, the state must permit civil marriage for same-sex couples. This ruling, in turn, relied on the 2006 decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis v. Harris that the state was constitutionally required to afford the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court had ordered the State Legislature to correct the constitutional violation, by permitting either same-sex marriage or civil unions with all the rights and benefits of marriage, within 180 days. In response, the Legislature passed a bill to legalize civil unions on December 21, 2006, which became effective on February 19, 2007.

Photo by Fausto García on Unsplash.

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Author: pbphilly

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