Over the last decade, the rights of same sex couples have shifted dramatically. On October 21, 2013, same-sex marriage rights in New Jersey became legally recognized. On that day, a trial court made a ruling invalidating a prior restriction of marriage to persons of different sexes. New Jersey was the 14th state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage laws. In January of 2022, Governor Murphy signed into law legislation codifying same sex marriage in New Jersey.
People have a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. States have separate laws pertaining to marriage, however each state’s laws must comply with the United States Supreme Court ruling, which has recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. As stated by Attorney General Platkin in October 2022, “marriage equality is the law here in New Jersey.“
What are same sex marriage rights in New Jersey?
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in New Jersey have most of the same rights as non-LGBT people. LGBT persons in New Jersey enjoy strong protections from discrimination. Wikipedia. New Jersey is frequently referred to as one of the most LGBT friendly states with general opinion polls demonstrating very high levels of support for same-sex marriage. Wikipedia. Same sex couples legally married in another state or country may be divorced in New Jersey. Since 2004 New Jersey has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.
On June 26, 2015 the United States Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage rights, legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states and required states to honor out of state same sex marriage licenses. Wikipedia. The result is that gay marriage is legal and gay marriage is protected in all 50 states.
The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is a landmark United States federal law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, effective December 13, 2022. The act repealed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), requires the US federal government and all states and territories to recognize the validity of same sex and interracial civil marriages in the United States, and protects religious liberty. Wikipedia.
Since couples in same-sex marriages now legally enjoy the same rights as couples in opposite sex marriages pursuant to New Jersey law, generally, the divorce process is the same. Most often, same sex couples going through the divorce process in New Jersey are considering many of the same issues as opposite sex couples. There are some situations where issues arise that are unique to same-sex marriages. For example, if the relationship pre-dated the date of the legalization of same-sex marriages, there are certain issues to be addressed that opposite sex couples do not need to be concerned with during the divorce process.
If you are considering filing for a same sex divorce or are already involved in a divorce process and dealing with other matters related to same sex marriage rights, it is best to consult with a qualified attorney. Here at DeTorres & DeGeorge we understand that these times can be challenging and we will fight to zealously advocate for your interests and those of your family members during and throughout the legal process.
DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law Attorneys proudly represent same-sex couples in all family law matters, including divorce, dissolution, custody, child support, alimony and more. For more information, please call us at (908)-304-9679.