ASSEMBLY, No. 3611

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 13, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

Assemblyman  UPENDRA J. CHIVUKULA

District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Authorizes marriage by same-sex couples, and provides for issuance of marriage license to same-sex couples, including those previously joined in civil union, subject to voter approval.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning marriage, subject to voter approval, supplementing Title 37 of the Revised Statutes, and amending R.S.37:1-4.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1. (New section) “Marriage” means the legally recognized union of two consenting persons in a committed relationship. Whenever the term “marriage” occurs or the term “man,” “woman,” “husband,” or “wife” occurs in the context of marriage or any reference is made thereto in any law, statute, rule, regulation, or order, the same shall be deemed to mean or refer to the union of two persons.

 

     2. (New section) On and after the effective date of P.L.    ,                   c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     a. no further civil unions shall be established under P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.); and

     b. the partners in any civil union previously established under P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.):

     (1) shall remain in a recognized civil union, unless dissolved as provided for under section 64 of P.L.2006, c.103 (C.2A:34-2.1); and

     (2) may apply for a marriage license in accordance with the provisions of R.S.37:1-4 and all other applicable provisions of law for the purpose of marrying, thereby converting their civil union into a marriage.

 

     3.  R.S.37:1-4 is amended to read as follows:

     37:1-4. [Issuance of marriage or civil union license, emergencies, validity.]

     a.     Except as provided in R.S.37:1-6 and subsection b. of this section, the marriage [or civil union] license shall not be issued by a licensing officer sooner than 72 hours after the application therefor has been made; provided, however, that the Superior Court may, by order, waive all or any part of said 72-hour period in cases of emergency, upon satisfactory proof being shown to it. Said order shall be filed with the licensing officer and attached to the application for the license.

     b.    On and after the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), a licensing officer shall issue a marriage license immediately to partners in a civil union established pursuant to P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.) who apply for the license.

     c.     A marriage [or civil union] license, when properly issued as provided in this article, shall be good and valid only for 30 days after the date of the issuance thereof.

(cf: P.L.2006, c.103, s.9)

 

     4.  (New section) The Commissioner of Health, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1) shall adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of              P.L.    , c.   (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     5.  This act shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election to be held at least 70 days following the date of its enactment for the purpose of complying with Article II, Section I, paragraph 2 of the New Jersey Constitution.

 

     6.  This voter referendum shall be submitted to the people in the following manner and form:

     There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at the general election, the following:

     a. In every municipality in which voting machines are not used, a legend which shall immediately precede the question as follows:

     If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+), or check (a) in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check (a) in the square opposite the word "No."

     b.  In every municipality the following question:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUTHORIZING MARRIAGE BY SAME-SEX COUPLES

 

YES

     Do you approve a law enacted by the Legislature that permits marriage by same-sex couples in this State and grants marriage licenses to these couples?  This law will not take effect unless approved by the voters.

 

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

NO

    Currently, New Jersey law does not permit same-sex couples to marry.  Instead, it allows same-sex couples to establish civil unions.  Civil unions were first allowed under a 2006 law.

     This question asks if you approve a new law  passed  by  the  Legislature,  P.L.         ,

c.    (C.        ), which allows same-sex couples to marry and to obtain marriage licenses.  This new law will not take effect unless it is approved by the voters.

     The new law defines marriage as a union of two consenting persons, regardless of their gender.  The new law also allows same-sex couples in existing civil unions to obtain marriage licenses and convert their civil unions into marriages if they so choose.  Finally, the new law ends the formation of future civil unions in favor of allowing marriages for all couples.

 

     7.    This act shall take effect on the 60th day following voter approval at the designated general election, except that the Commissioner of Health may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance of the effective date, following voter approval, as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill authorizes marriage by same-sex couples, and provides for the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, including those previously joined in a civil union, subject to voter approval.

     Under the bill, marriage is defined as “the legally recognized union of two consenting persons in a committed relationship,” without reference to gender.  Thus, the definition incorporates marriage between a man and a woman or a same-sex couple.       The bill further provides that whenever the term “marriage” occurs or the term “man,” “woman,” “husband,” or “wife” occurs in the context of marriage, or any reference is made thereto in any law, statute, rule, regulation, or order, the same would be deemed to mean or refer to the union of two persons pursuant to the bill.

     Based upon the statutory definition of marriage set forth in the bill, same-sex couples would be eligible to obtain marriage licenses.  Additionally, same-sex couples who previously established a civil union under the provisions of P.L.2006, c.103 (C.37:1-28 et al.) would be permitted to obtain marriage licenses for the purpose of converting their relationship into a marriage.  Civil union couples who did not convert their relationship into a marriage would remain in a legally recognized civil union, unless dissolved as provided for under section 64 of P.L.2006, c.103 (C.2A:34-2.1).

     Although previously established civil unions would continue to be recognized unless dissolved or converted to marriages, no further civil unions could be established under the law beginning on the effective date of the bill.

     The bill would take effect only if approved by the voters in a Statewide referendum.  That referendum would be held at the next available general election, which in accordance with Article II, Section I, paragraph 2 of the New Jersey Constitution must be a general election held at least 70 days following the date of the bill’s enactment.