Same sex couples will for the first time legally be able to get married in the state of New Jersey. The new law, which has taken several years to come to fruition, goes into effect in its entirety on the first of July. On the table since 2015, the law has encountered numerous setbacks and opposition from religious groups while the proposed legislation was reviewed and went through the legislative process. Additional delays occurred in approving the law because a large body of legal issues needed to be revised.
However, the legislation was finally ratified in a unanimous vote, effectively overhauling the state’s marriage laws. The law also allows for couples in the state to marry in open air and humanist ceremonies.
The new law stipulates that couples wishing to marry will now have to provide more notice, increased from 15 to 25 days, before being able to get married. The reasoning behind this move was to accommodate the likely increased number of marriage applicants, as many more same sex couples from outside the state were anticipated to come to New Jersey to get married in a legal ceremony. Authorities explained that the increased waiting period allows for necessary immigration checks that will confirm that the union is not a fake marriage scam meant to defraud authorities.
According to immigration lawyer Ronald Shapiro, being permitted to legally wed now affords same sex couples in the state the right to be eligible for federal immigration benefits. “Couples must be married in a state or married overseas in a country that allows same-sex marriage to be eligible for federal immigration benefits,” explains Shapiro. For example, a U.S. citizen or U.S. “green card” holder in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national in which the marriage took place in a state where it is legal to wed, are eligible to sponsor their spouse for a family-based immigration visa by filing an Immediate Relative Visa Application (Form I-130) and any applicable accompanying paperwork.
The are already a dozen same sex couples set to marry in Jersey once the new law goes into effect on July first.