What Do Today's Rulings Mean for New Jersey's Gay Couples? Not Much… Yet.
You've probably heard by now that the U.S. Supreme Court issued two major opinions today that concern same sex marriage. You can read the decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) here, and click here to read the Court's second opinion reversing the 9th Circuit's ruling concerning a challenge to California's controversial Proposition 8. DeMichele & DeMichele clients are naturally curious to know what these historic decision might mean for same sex couples in New Jersey. The short answer: not much, or at least not immediately. The California case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, did not include any broad pronouncements by the justices that extend beyond California. The DOMA case captioned U.S. v. Windsor, however, might provide some grounds upon which litigants in states with same sex marriage bans could challenge them successfully. More on that later. Also, going forward, the federal government must acknowledge a state-recognized same sex marriage and afford those individuals with the same federal benefits enjoyed by opposite sex married couples. For now, the only certainty is that many more lawsuits will be filed at the state and federal levels before the marriage equality question is resolved in America. New Jersey's same sex couples are still restricted to civil unions in the wake of today's Supreme Court decisions. We will continue to keep you in the loop. You don't have to tackle momentous decision without professional, experienced and compassionate assistance to protect your rights and work towards your goals. If you or someone you know is considering seeking a civil union dissolution in New Jersey, please contact the family law attorneys at DeMichele & DeMichele online today. Your confidential initial consultation is only a phone call away: (856) 546-1350.