Almost everyone is engaged in the conversation, if not debate, about same-sex marriage versus civil unions in the country. Whether you live in New Jersey or in Wisconsin, gay marriage is part of the political conversation. State by state, our country is seeing voters approve same-sex marriage.
Most recently, New York legalized gay marriage in the state, which naturally has its New Jersey neighbors reassessing the legal, family issue within its own borders. Advocates for gay marriage and equal rights are looking to New York as a beacon of hope for New Jersey’s future.
Of course, many in the state have decided to take a trip to New York and have a legit marriage ceremony. But what happens when they return home? That depends. But what it comes to in New Jersey is this: same-sex marriage is not recognized, no matter where the marriage was performed. If a couple gets married in New York or any other state that allows them that right, when they return to New Jersey, their relationship will merely be considered a civil union.
Governor Christie has recently reaffirmed his conviction that at least while he is in office, New Jersey won’t legalize marriage for same-sex couples. He defines marriage as a union between only a man and woman. He and other proponents of gay marriage point to the state’s civil union law as the answer to the state debate.
New Jersey legalized civil unions in the state in 2006 as an answer to a lawsuit filed by various same-sex couples seeking equal marriage rights. Since the law’s passage, however, many same-sex couples and The New Jersey Civil Union Review have found that civil unions haven’t provided equal rights to families. They want more.
Where does that leave New Jersey and same-sex marriage today? Like so many other states, it leaves the state in a state of debate. We will post an update if there are new developments regarding this important matter.
The Record: “NJ gay couples waiting for same-sex marriage to be legal at home,” Hannan Adely and Erik Shilling, 23 Jul. 2011