A few weeks ago, a lower court ruled that same-sex couples, who are otherwise eligible, must be permitted to enter into civil marriage. Governor Christie filed an appeal and asked for a stay, whereby he requested that the higher courts stop marriage licenses from being issued while the appeal was pending. The higher courts rejected that request noting that if the stay was granted same-sex partners would be denied federal benefits available to opposite-sex couples, namely; leave claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act; coverage for health benefits as a "spouse" of a federal employee; certain Medicare benefits; the filing of joint tax returns; being considered a "spouse" for immigration purposes; and participation in a Survivor Benefit Plan as a spouse of an active or retired member of the military. Id. at *16-18. Cory Booker, Newark mayor and U.S. senator-elect, began officiating wedding ceremonies at City Hall on October 21, 2013 at 12:01 a.m.
Same-sex couples in New Jersey should be aware that, while they can now get a marriage licenses and be married, they could still find themselves in legal limbo if the New Jersey Supreme Court invalidates the marriages. The New Jersey Supreme Court's decision is not likely to happen for about a year, or even longer.
If you have questions about the above, please contact the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
THE FOREGOING IS INTENDED TO BE A GENERAL DISCUSSION OF THE LAW AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE AND SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY.