Forgoing law on same-sex marriage in N.J. could jeopardize ruling

 Without a marriage equality law many are concerned future courts could overturn the judicial ruling. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

Without a marriage equality law many are concerned future courts could overturn the judicial ruling. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

After a judge ruled last month to allow same-sex weddings, leaders in the New Jersey Legislature are considering whether to pursue a marriage equality law after a judge ruled last month to allow same-sex weddings.

The Legislature’s option of doing nothing is tempting, but that could result in years of litigation to resolve questions about religious exemptions from participating in those ceremonies and receptions, said Bob Williams, a constitutional law professor at Rutgers Law School in Camden.

“The Legislature is elected to make law and so one could certainly say they should step up and make this decision,” he said. “And if they’re concerned about what’s in the earlier bill that the governor vetoed, they could certainly craft a new piece of legislation.”

Without a marriage equality law, Williams said, the judicial ruling could be overturned by an appellate court or the state Supreme Court, which will have different justices in the future.

 

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