You may have learned that most of the laws that affect your daily life are state laws, not federal ones. Thus, the skills you must demonstrate on the road test in order to get a driver’s license vary from one state to another, as do the laws about the sale and growing of cannabis. In 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, declaring that states do not have the right to outlaw same-sex marriage. Since then, the decision has seen numerous challenges. New Jersey state legislators, including some who sponsored New Jersey’s Marriage Equality Act, drafted a law last year that would make marriage equality part a New Jersey State law, even if the Supreme Court were to erode protections for marriage equality at the federal level. Contact a Red Bank LGBT discrimination in the workplace lawyer with questions about marriage equality, employment discrimination, and New Jersey law.
New Law Requires Gender-Neutral Interpretation of Marriage Laws
On January 10, 2022, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law S3416, which states that all laws regarding marriage and civil unions must be interpreted as gender-neutral, meaning that the parties to the marriage or civil union can be of any gender. Before the passage of the law, protections for marriage equality existed in the form of federal and state court decisions, but S3416 is the first law to enshrine marriage equality in New Jersey at the statutory level.
In 2012, New Jersey legislators proposed the Marriage Equality Act, but former Governor Chris Christie vetoed it, before the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Some of the sponsors of S3416 played a role in drafting or sponsoring the 2012 bill, and others joined the legislature more recently. These are the primary sponsors of SB3416:
- Senate President Steve Sweeney
- Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg
- Senator Vin Gopal
- Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
- Assemblywoman Mila Jasey
- Assemblywoman Annette Quijano
- Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker
- Assemblywoman Joan Downey
Steven Goldstein and Thomas Prol, who are founding members of Garden State Equality expressed their joy with the enactment of the law, as did Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin, who are one of the first same-sex couples to register their marriage legally in New Jersey. Garden State Equality was a party in the 2013 case Garden State Equality v. Dow, in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling made same-sex marriage legal.
One of the motivations for enacting S3416 now was that, after three justices were confirmed during the Trump administration, the chances that the Supreme Court may overturn Obergefell v. Hodges are higher than they have been at any time since the decision was issued.
Contact an Employment Lawyer About Marriage Equality in the Workplace
An LGBTQ+ employment discrimination lawyer can help you protect yourself from employment discrimination in your place of employment, in light of the new law. Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber to learn more. Call our office in Red Bank, New Jersey at 732-842-6500, our Marlton, New Jersey office at 856-985-9800, or our Newark, New Jersey office at 973-878-9040.