STATUS: Civil unions
TAKE ACTION: The New Jersey state legislature passed a freedom to marry bill in February 2012. Despite polling which shows a solid majority of New Jersey voters in favor of the legislation, Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill.
With Garden State Equality, the largest civil rights organization in New Jersey, Freedom to Marry is working to override the veto, which the legislature can do at anytime between now and January 2014.
Make a donation to Freedom to Marry’s Win More States Fund today. Every single penny donated to the Win More States Fund will go directly into the work of winning in New Jersey and other battleground states.
HISTORY: The New Jersey legislature passed civil union legislation in January 2007 after a unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in 2006 that recognized the equal needs and common humanity of committed same-sex couples and their kids. The legislature was instructed to codify this decision. Unfortunately, the legislature decided to create a separate category of civil unions rather than provide the freedom to marry for all of the state's residents.
Along with passing the civil union bill, the legislature set up a Civil Union Review Commission to study the implementation of civil unions and whether or not they fulfill the court's ruling. The commission concluded that civil unions are failing New Jersey families and urged passage of freedom to marry legislation. The New Jersey legislature failed to change the law in 2009.
In February 2012, both houses of the state legislature passed a freedom to marry bill, but on February 16, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill, urging the residents of New Jersey to consider a constitutional amendment banning the freedom to marry.
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:
- Garden State Equality is the central statewide organization working for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex civil rights in New Jersey.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
- Human Rights Campaign is the United States' largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.
POLLING DATA: A wide majority of New Jersey voters (64%) support the freedom to marry, while just 30% say they do not support marriage for same-sex couples. (Quinnipiac, March 2013)
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES: According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 16,875 same-sex couples are living in New Jersey, representing 5.2 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
Blog Posts Related to New Jersey
In 2013, we've already seen significant developments from states where we can win marriage this year, and several other states have taken the first steps toward winning marriage. Here's a look at some recent victories, and what's on the horizon for these 7 States.
Today, Freedom to Marry announced a 2013 drive to raise and invest $2 million through the Win More States Fund, with an initial goal of passing marriage bills in several states across the country - Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
This week, New Jersey's state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he would not support a measure that would allow a referendum on the freedom to marry in New Jersey, and that he would not post a referendum bill to committee. Earlier this year, the NJ legislature approved a marriage billl, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it.
Resources Related to New Jersey
The Southern Poverty Law Center provides a detailed listing of anti-gay groups know for their dangerous propaganda aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission published a report which determined New Jersey's civil union law "is not clear to the general public" and "creates a second-class status" for those who have filed for civil unions, among many other challenges that prove the law does not accomplish what it was intended to do--provide protections and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and their families.