A 2013 court decision implies that LGBTQ couples in New Jersey can legally marry as a result of a 2013 court decision. However, if the state Legislature adopts a measure proposed on Feb. 9, same-sex marriage would become legal in New Jersey. Despite the then-Govefforts.'s to appeal, the state Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage in 2013. The Legislature failed to act on the issue during its current session, which ends May 19.
In June 2013, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, New Jersey became the first state to legalize such marriages. The New Jersey Supreme Court's 5-4 decision was based on the federal Constitution's guarantee of due process and equal protection under the law.
Same-sex couples were able to obtain civil unions in New Jersey from 2010 through 2013, when Governor Christie (R) signed into law legislation ending that arrangement. Under the new system, adopted by the Legislature over Christie's objections, same-sex couples will be able to file joint tax returns and make other financial decisions for themselves using health care proxies. Same-sex couples who want to marry must do so before July 1, 2015.
New Jersey has been referred to as a "bridge" state because it allows same-sex couples to get married while preventing employers from discriminating against employees who are in same-sex relationships by denying them benefits.
On October 21, 2013, the state of New Jersey made same-sex marriage lawful. NJ same-sex couples now have the choice of joining a civil union, registering as domestic partners (if age 62 or older), or marrying their same-sex spouse, thanks to the adoption of the same-sex marriage statute. The law takes effect on January 1, 2014.
In addition to being legal, same-sex marriages are also becoming common in New Jersey. There are more than 300 marriages currently pending before the state's register of wills and judges. In fact, there were so many applications for marriage licenses that the clerk's office had to open an additional branch location to accommodate all the couples wanting to be married.
Same-sex couples become eligible for a number of benefits after they are married including health insurance, death benefits, income tax withholding, pensions, and Social Security. Also, spouses can file federal taxes jointly or individually (married people who file separately must submit a separate form 8840-A).
It is important to note that not all counties in New Jersey issue marriage licenses. Only those counties that choose to do so can legally marry gay and lesbian couples. Of the state's 21 counties, only Essex, Hudson, and Somerset allow county officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The other 18 counties use a policy of implicit denial if they lack funds to pay for a license.
No New Jersey passed legislation outlawing common-law marriage in 1939. A couple must get a valid marriage license and have a ceremony performed by an authorized person, society, institution, or organization to be termed "married" in New Jersey. There is no need for parents' consent nor does the couple have to be of legal age (18 years old).
In 1969, New Jersey became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage when it passed a law allowing for such marriages. Same-sex couples were also given the right to adopt children in 1990 with passage of another law that was signed by Governor Christie.
Currently, nine other states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont.
New Jersey has been at the forefront of LGBT rights since its first gay wedding ceremony was held at the Little Garden Restaurant in Montclair in 1969. In 2007, New Jersey became the first state to declare that all married couples are entitled to health insurance coverage for their spouses under its workers' compensation system. In 2011, New Jersey passed one of the most expansive anti-discrimination laws in the country protecting individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2013, New Jersey became the first state to pass legislation banning conversion therapy on minors.
This is outlined in N.J.S.A. 37:1-13, and it currently allows judges, magistrates, mayors or deputy mayors, county clerks, chairmen of any township committees, and ministers of any denomination to conduct a legitimate marriage ceremony in New Jersey. Also included are members of the National Guard who are stationed in New Jersey, U.S. Navy personnel assigned to New Jersey homeports, and foreign diplomats accredited by the United States government. This list does not include priests or pastors of churches, rabbis, cantors or other religious officials.
If you are from a non-Christian religion such as Judaism or Hinduism, you can get married at a church or other place of worship with a priest or minister of that religion presiding over the wedding.
In addition, if you are 18 years old or older, have your parents' consent, and are willing to provide proof of identity and age, you can get married at a Department of Motor Vehicles office in New Jersey. The only requirement here is that you must attend a premarital counseling session before being allowed to get married.
According to N.J.S.A. 37:1-13, a marriage ceremony in New Jersey should be between a man and a woman.
"Every minister of any religion [is] now permitted to solemnize marriage between such individuals as may legitimately enter into the married connection; and every religious group, institution, or organization in this State may join together in marriage such persons according to the norms..." - New Jersey Constitution of 1776.
In New Jersey, only a priest or minister of a church can perform marriages. All other officials who call themselves "ministers" are simply employees of the Church who have been granted authority by bishops to preside over weddings. Only priests can marry people in churches legally recognized by the Catholic Church. Otherwise, they would be acting outside their authority.
In New Jersey, only a judge or mayor can perform civil marriages. Ministers do not have the power to conduct civil marriages unless they are government officials or licensed agents of the state authorized to act on its behalf. A clergy member cannot grant anyone citizenship, nor can they perform military services. These functions are reserved for government officials.
An ordained minister is defined as any person designated by a church to lead prayers and give sermons but not including bishops or other senior officers. In most Protestant churches, this position is held only by preachers who have earned at least a bachelor's degree in theology or another appropriate field. In some cases, pastors must also be ordained as elders or deacons before they can be appointed to lead a congregation.
A marriage or civil union license obtained in New Jersey may never be used outside of the state, and a license issued in another state may never be used within the state. Contact the Registrar well in advance of the ceremony to discover out what days and hours the Registrar will be at the office. You should also contact the local county clerk's office for an exact location.
In general, you cannot use a New Jersey marriage license in any other state except New Jersey. However, if you are married by an authorized representative of the State of New Jersey who is licensed to perform marriages, then your marriage is considered valid in other states. The only way to verify this information is to contact the office that issued the license.
New Jersey has five months from the date of issuance to return a license. If it is not done so within this time frame, then the license becomes invalid.
A new license must be received by the registrar within three days of the old one being returned as undeliverable. If this deadline is missed, an additional charge will be required to reissue the license.
The cost of a marriage license is $60. This fee includes the cost of processing the application, checking validity requirements, and printing the license. There is no charge for reissuing a license that was lost or damaged in the mail.
Marriage licenses can be obtained in most counties in New Jersey.