November 5, 2013

Sanctioning Same-sex Marriage in the States

New Jersey now joins 14 other states and jurisdictions in sanctioning same-sex marriage.  It is anticipated that Hawaii is on the verge of enacting a similar law.

New Jersey

In 2006, New Jersey enacted a law recognizing same-sex civil unions but the disparity in treatment was challenged. On September 27, 2013, Judge Mary Jacobson of Mercer County Superior Court ruled that the state of New Jersey must permit same-sex couples to get married in light of the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor relating to the Defense of Marriage Act.   Same-sex marriages could begin on October 21, 2013. Governor Christie appealed the decision to New Jersey Supreme Court to temporarily suspend the marriages until the appeal can be heard in January. The Supreme Court denied the state’s request to temporarily suspend the marriages.   Governor Christie’s administration withdrew the challenge, thus making way for same-sex marriages.


Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie called a special legislative session to address the marriage equity issue by way of repealing the state constitution that bans same-sex marriage.  Senate Bill 1, which extends the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples as opposite-sex couples has been overwhelming passed by the Senate.  The bill is now under review by Hawaii’s House of Representatives.  Gov. Abercrombie has long endorsed same-sex marriage and is expected to sign the measure.  If enacted, it would become effective November 18, 2013.

The following states recognize same-sex marriage:

States with Same-Sex Marriage Laws


Minnesota (effective 8/1/13)


New Hampshire

Delaware (effective 7/1/13)

New Jersey (effective 10/21/13)

District of Columbia

New York


Rhode Island (effective 8/1/13)







*With regard to California, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Court lifted the stay restricting same-sex marriage on June 28, 2013, allowing same-sex marriages to resume.

Note:  While there is no specific state law prohibiting or permitting same-sex marriage in New Mexico, currently 8 of the 33 counties within the state are issuing same-sex marriage licenses.


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