Governor Murphy signs legislation to enshrine marriage equality into state law
NEW JERSEY – Governor Murphy Monday signed into law S3416, which codifies marriage equality in New Jersey law by providing that all laws concerning marriage and civil union are to be read with gender neutral intent.
Marriage equality currently exists in New Jersey based on state and federal Court decisions. This new law demonstrates the Governor and Legislature’s commitment to protecting marriage equality by codifying it into New Jersey law.
“Despite the progress we have made as a country, there is still much work to be done to protect the LGBTQ+ community from intolerance and injustice. New Jersey is stronger and fairer when every member of our LGBTQ+ family is valued and given equal protection under the law,” Murphy said. “I am honored to sign legislation that represents our New Jersey values and codifies marriage equality into state law.”
Primary sponsors of the bill include Senators Steve Sweeney, Loretta Weinberg, and Vin Gopal, and Assemblymembers Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Mila M. Jasey, Annette Quijano, Andrew Zwicker, and Joann Downey.
This legislation brings New Jersey statutory law into conformance with the 2013 decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow as well as the 2015 United Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right and that all states are required to allow same-sex couples to marry. Enacting S3416 into law ensures that the right to same-sex marriage will continue to exist in New Jersey even if these state and federal court precedents were to be overturned.
“How the world has changed since last time the legislature passed marriage equality in 2012. This time we have a Governor who is a champion of civil and human rights second to none,” said Steven Goldstein, founder of Garden State Equality. “I am also thrilled this new statue marks the final law steered to passage by our equality legend Senator Loretta Weinberg. What a fitting, crowning legacy.”
“Securing marriage equality in New Jersey for committed same-sex couples and their families has literally been a labor of love at Garden State Equality for nearly two decades,” said Thomas Prol, a founding and current Garden State Equality executive committee member and co-author of the legislation. “We are grateful to the Governor and the legislative leadership for helping us protect these vital rights from the national onslaught being leveled against the LGBTQ community every day. Our community can now sleep tight knowing that their relationships are cemented in New Jersey’s statutory law books.”
“Twelve years ago, the Senate failed to pass marriage equality and then Senate President Dick Codey predicted that one day they would all look back and say, ‘what were we thinking?’ As one of the first couples to be married when marriage equality was established, our gratitude goes to all who saw this as a civil rights issue then and continued the fight to bring us to this day, especially Senators Loretta Weinberg and Raymond Lesniak,” said Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin. “Special thanks to Governor Phil Murphy for keeping his promise to move New Jersey forward and codifying the right for all New Jerseyans to marry the one they love into law.”