Effective today, same sex marriage is now legal in New Jersey after Governor Chris Christie dropped his plans to appeal the ruling of Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson. On September 27, 2013, Judge Jacobson had ruled that New Jersey must allow same sex marriages in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor.Previously, New Jersey had only allowed Civil Unions and it recognized same sex marriages from other jurisdictions as Civil Unions. The Governor elected to drop his appeal after receiving very clear signals from the New Jersey Supreme Court that his appeal would not be successful.
Remaining at issue is whether or not all Civil Unions in New Jersey would automatically be treated as same sex marriages. The New Jersey legislature had sought to pass a bill to that affect several months ago, but it was vetoed by the Governor. (The bill included a provision that couples could opt out of the automatic conversion to marriage if they did so within 30 days.) As it stands, if a couple wishes to be recognized as a married couple, they should not rely on this automatic conversion, but should instead proceed with a marriage ceremony.
I would like to remind individuals who were married in another state that they should consider refiling their income tax returns for the past few years if there is a tax benefit to do so.