Same-sex marriage may soon be enshrined in New Jersey law. Why lawmakers say this has to happen.

New Jersey lawmakers are about to enshrine the right of a gay couple to marry into state law.

Same-sex couples have been able to marry in New Jersey since October 2013, when the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to hear a lower court ruling that the ban on same-sex marriage violated Canada’s equal-protection guarantee. the constitution of the state.

The United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide two years later.

But with the nation’s highest court set to shake off a decades-old precedent that gives women access to abortion, New Jersey lawmakers say now is the right time to ensure marriage homosexual is legally protected if a legal challenge is brought against the federal rule. on same-sex marriage.

The legislation lifted a procedural hurdle Thursday after an Assembly committee voted 4-0 to advance the bill that removes genders from state marriage and civil union laws.

It has the backing of the highest legislator in the Legislature, State Senate Speaker Stephen Sweeney, and is expected to be voted on in the Lame Duck session which will last until the new legislature is sworn in on the January 11.

“It highlights the need for us to take a look at this and act now because there is a real threat,” said MP Raj Mukherji, D-Hudson, a sponsor of the bill. and chairman of the Assembly’s judiciary committee, which voted on Thursday.

“We have passed the stage where the public tolerates a second class of citizens when it comes to married couples,” he said. “When you look at the laws of our state, it always reflects language that would result in different treatment of children of same-sex marriages, which could lead to stigmatization of same-sex couples and New Jersey, being a diverse tolerant state, New Jersey is the last place that should be living with archaic and discriminatory marital status.

An Assembly Republican on the committee, MP Christopher DePhillips, R-Bergen, joined three Democrats in sending the Bill (A5367) to the Assembly. Another Republican, MP Bob Auth, R-Bergen, attended the virtual committee hearing while not present for the vote.

The move to legislate same-sex marriage is similar to pushing to do the same with abortion rights in New Jersey.

The Reproductive Freedom Act (S3030), a bill introduced after the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg in September 2020, would enshrine Roe v. Wade in state law, but would also expand access to New Jersey. The measure would make contraceptives free, require insurance companies to cover abortion services, and allow advanced practice nurses to perform more abortion services in the first trimester, among other changes.

It has the backing of Governor Phil Murphy, but has yet to be considered by either house of the Legislative Assembly.

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Matt Arco can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @MatthewArco.

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