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US: New Jersey officials end push to codify equal marriage in law

Joseph McCormick December 16, 2013
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Officials in the US state of New Jersey have ended a campaign to have equal marriage written into state law through extra legislation.

Senator Loretta Weinberg has removed from the agenda a bill which would have been debated on Monday at a committee hearing, reports the Star-Ledger.

A ruling back in October by Judge Mary Jacobson, which was later upheld by the state Supreme Court, immediately allowed same-sex marriages to take place as it said prohibiting such went against the human rights of gay and lesbian couples.

Advocates for equal marriage have said the bill is no longer needed, because of the October ruling.

Despite that the bill included exemptions for religious individuals and organisations, supporters have noted that religious institutions are protected by the US constitution.

A bill will be needed eventually to convert civil partnerships to marriages, says Garden State Equality director Troy Stevenson.

An issue arose under the ruling by Judge Jacobson that the state must allow equal marriage, which was held up by the Supreme Court in the state, gay couples have more rights than under an equal marriage bill which passed in 2012, but which was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

One of the sponsors of the original equal marriage bill, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, said: ”Overriding the veto will take away certain rights that currently exist based on the court decision, or let’s put it this way, have not been eliminated.”


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