NJAB04327
The "Marriage Equality Act"; codifies same-sex marriage. No companion bill.
Status: 7/30/2018 : Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee
All Versions: Introduced

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A4327

ASSEMBLY, No. 4327

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JULY 30, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     The “Marriage Equality Act”; codifies same-sex marriage.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning marriage, supplementing Title 37 of the Revised Statutes and repealing section 94 of P.L.2006, c.103.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Marriage Equality Act.”

 

     2.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     On September 27, 2013 a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court ruled in Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow, 434 N.J. Super. 163 (Law Div. 2013) that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, and that denying them that right violates the equal protection guarantee of the New Jersey Constitution.

     b.    The State did not appeal this trial court decision, and the first same-sex marriages in New Jersey took place on October 21, 2013.

     c.     On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right and that all states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al., 135 S. Ct. 2584, 192 L. Ed. 2d. 609, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 4250 (2015).

     d.    In enacting this legislation to grant same-sex marriage statutory recognition, it is the intent of the Legislature to codify the ruling of Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow and to declare that it is the public policy of this State that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right.

 

     3.    “Marriage” means the legally recognized union of two consenting persons in a committed relationship. Whenever the term “marriage” occurs or the term “man,” “woman,” “husband” or “wife” occurs in the context of marriage or any reference is made thereto in any law, statute, rule, regulation or order, the same shall be deemed to mean or refer to the union of two persons pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).  “Marriage” does not include a civil union as statutorily recognized pursuant to P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.).

 

     4.    A marriage of two persons of the same sex entered into outside this State which is valid under the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was entered shall be valid in this State.

 

     5.    It is the intent of the Legislature that P.L.    , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) be interpreted consistently with the guarantees of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and of Article I, paragraph 4 of the New Jersey Constitution.

 

     6.    Nothing in P.L.    , c.    (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall affect the right of two persons to enter into a civil union pursuant to P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.).

 

     7.    Section 94 of P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-36) is repealed.

 

     8.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, the “Marriage Equality Act,” would codify same-sex marriage in the statutes. Same-sex marriage has been authorized in New Jersey since October 21, 2013, through Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow, 434 N.J. Super. 163 (Law Div. 2013). 

     The bill’s “findings and declarations” provide that:

     a.     On September 27, 2013 a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court ruled in Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow, 434 N.J. Super. 163 (Law Div. 2013) that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, and that denying them that right violates the equal protection guarantee of the New Jersey Constitution.

     b.    The State did not appeal this trial court decision, and the first same-sex marriages in New Jersey took place on October 21, 2013.

     c.     On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right and that all states are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al., 135 S. Ct. 2584, 192 L. Ed. 2d. 609, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 4250 (2015). 

     d.    In enacting this legislation to grant same-sex marriage statutory recognition, it is the intent of the Legislature to codify the ruling of Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow and to declare that it is the public policy of this State that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right.

     The bill provides that the term “marriage” means the legally recognized union of two consenting persons in a committed relationship. Under the bill, whenever the term “marriage” occurs or the term “man,” “woman,” “husband” or “wife” occurs in the context of marriage or any reference is made thereto in any law, statute, rule, regulation or order, the same would be deemed to mean or refer to the union of two persons pursuant to the bill. The bill provides that the term “marriage” does not include a civil union as statutorily recognized pursuant to P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.).

     The bill specifies that a marriage of two persons of the same sex entered into outside this State which is valid under the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was entered would be valid in this State.

     The bill also specifies that it is the intent of the Legislature that it be interpreted consistently with the guarantees of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and of Article I, paragraph 4 of the New Jersey Constitution.

     The bill provides that nothing in the bill would affect the right of two persons to enter into a civil union pursuant to P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.).

     Finally, the bill repeals section 94 of P.L.2006, c.103       (C.37:1-36), which had established the now-defunct New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission.  The function of the commission was to evaluate the operation and effectiveness of P.L.2006, c.103, which had authorized same-sex civil unions in this State. The commission concluded in its December 2008 final report that the civil union law was inadequate and discriminatory, and that the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.