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New Jersey Same Sex Weddings

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NO ONE NEEDS TO BE ACCEPTED - WE ARE ALL ONE

New Jersey same sex marriage ceremonies became available for NJ same sex couples on October 21, 2013.  
In October 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that barring same sex wedding couples from marriage violated the New Jersey constitution's promise of equality for all citizens.  The court gave the New Jersey Legislature 180 days to decide how to deal with the inequity. The Legislature originally chose to create a separate status of civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Here's what you need to know about the current New Jersey same sex wedding:
 
What is a Same Sex Marriage? 
A same sex marriage and an opposite sex marriage is an equivalent marriage.  A same sex couple who enters into a New Jersey marriage is eligible for all the state rights that an opposite sex married couple has. 
 
How do I get a New Jersey Marriage License? 
Getting a New Jersey same sex marriage license is the same as getting an opposite same sex marriage license in New Jersey.  

  • You must obtain a New Jersey marriage license from your county clerk or registrar.  
  • You must wait 72 hours between applying for the NJ marriage license and receiving the New Jersey marriage license.  
  • You must have a marriage ceremony within 30 days of applying for the New Jersey marriage license.
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What rights come with a New Jersey Same Sex Marriage? 

New Jersey same sex marriages grant all of the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under the law as are granted to spouses in an opposite sex marriage.
Some of these rights include:
  • inheritance rights
  • family leave benefits
  • state and local tax benefits
  • rights relating to health insurance and pension benefits
  • not having to testify against a partner in a court of law
  • wrongful death rights and worker's compensation rights
  • liability for partner's debts
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Same sex marriage in New Jersey has been legally recognized since October 21, 2013, the effective date of a trial court ruling invalidating the New Jersey state's restriction of marriage to persons of different sexes.

In September 2013, a judge of the Superior Court ruled that as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor, New Jersey's constitution requires the state to recognize same-sex marriages.  The Windsor decision held that the federal government was required to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples who were married under state law as to other married couples.  Therefore, the state court reasoned in Garden State Equality v. Dow, because same-sex couples in New Jersey were limited to civil unions; which are not recognized as marriages under federal law, the state must permit civil marriage for same-sex couples.  This ruling, in turn, relied on the 2006 decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis v. Harris that the state was constitutionally required to afford the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples.  The Supreme Court had ordered the state legislature to correct the constitutional violation, by permitting either same-sex marriage or civil unions with all the rights and benefits of marriage, within 180 days.  In response, the legislature passed a bill to legalize civil unions on December 21, 2006, which became effective on February 19, 2007.
In 2012, the New Jersey Legislature had passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, but it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.  Following the trial court decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow, the Christie administration asked the state Supreme Court to grant a stay of the decision pending appeal.  On October 18, 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously denied the request for a stay.  Three days later, on the day the trial court ruling went into effect and local officials had begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and some wedding ceremonies had been performed, the Governor withdrew the state's appeal.  This action removed the last potential impediment to same-sex marriages in the state.

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Ceremony Planning Tips

The Greeting
Your New Jersey wedding officiant will welcome your guests to your celebration of love.  Your officiant can also say a few words about your relationship, or about marriage/commitment in general.


Your Ceremony & Vows
You will want to decide if you and your partner desire a religious or non-religious ceremony.  As in any type of same sex wedding, the ceremony and vows can be as personal or standard depending on your preference.  During the vows, the couple declares their intent to be a committed couple.  This is your opportunity to make promises about what this commitment means to you both by individually writing your own vows.

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The Readings & Music
Many wedding officiants have a standard set of music and readings that are often used at commitment ceremonies.  A religious commitment ceremony will likely incorporate hymns and scripture readings that focus on love.  A secular civil union ceremony will usually also include readings, music, and songs about love: including poems, passages of literature, famous quotes, personal writing, and classic or pop music.  It may be gay / lesbian / transgender focused or very general, depending on your personal preference.


The Ring Exchange
The couple exchanges rings, and the officiant says a few words about the symbolism of what these rings mean.  You can craft your perfect wedding ceremony together with your New Jersey officiant.

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Pronouncement of Marriage
Your officiant will announce to your guests that you are now united/joined/wed,whatever word you prefer to say.  Then the wedding officiant invite the the two of you to seal your vows with a kiss.  Some couples may not be used to kissing in public, and thus may decide to keep it a short kiss, or forgo this part altogether.  Others will relish the moment to have the opportunity to kiss each other in front of their loved ones, proclaiming their love, and gratitude in having that love.

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The Reception
Couples will most often follow the same sex wedding ceremony with a reception celebration of some kind.  As with all weddings, there are no rules as to what this should be.  Of course, the location of your ceremony should be a special place for both you and your partner.  Nowadays with high gas prices, you may want to consider choosing a central New Jersey location for all of your guests.  Also, make sure the venue of choice is gay-friendly.  Call ahead to make sure the venue you choose is comfortable hosting a same sex ceremony.  You can have your reception be very elegant and traditional, or as casual as a backyard barbeque.  It may include traditional wedding elements such as the first dance, the cutting of the wedding cake, and bouquet toss, or may be an unstructured party event.  It would be a good idea to have your invitations give some clues as to what it will be expected.  For example, “Please join us after the ceremony to toast the happy couple,” or “A reception at the Country Club will immediately follow the ceremony.”

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BestWeddingNJ.com welcomes the opportunity to serve and celebrate with you in personalizing your dream wedding come true!  At BestWeddingNJ.com we value your unique life-long partnership desires as a gay couple.  Come bring your passion, your sense of style, and allow us to design a New Jersey same sex ceremony that will make your wedding day the most memorable day of your life!  Our creative same sex ceremonies are beautifully crafted and customized to fulfill your vision of your sacred day.  With a personal loving touch, our qualified officiants go the extra mile to blend joy, warmth and spirituality as they entwine the lives of all in attendance to create a special and unforgettable event!

It will be my honor and privilege to make your wedding dreams come true! 

In Love & Service,
Reverend Diane
New Jersey Wedding Officiant

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Complete Ceremonies from $375.00

BestWeddingNJ's affordable, romantic wedding ceremonies are performed at the location of your choosing.  If a more elaborate and customized ceremony is desired, we will personalize an inspirational, elegant ceremony, with a Unity Candle ceremony, perfect just for the two of you.  Create a picturesque Jersey Shore Beach Wedding, Boat Wedding or Waterfront View wedding ceremony (small gathering) at no extra charge! 

Call now for a FREE consultation to personalize your Ceremony!  Call 732-262-3037 today or contact us on the form below. (Please include the date, place & time)

Best Wedding NJ guarantees you will have a ceremony to remember! 

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Planning a Wedding in New Jersey?
So you’ve got the ring, you’ve thrown the engagement party; it’s now time to set your wedding date and actually start planning your wedding.  When planning a New Jersey same sex wedding, you’ll look for inspiration and suggestions along the way.  That’s where BestWeddingNJ.com comes in!  Discuss your personal wedding style with Reverend Diane, a FREE service available at BestWeddingNJ.com. Just contact us and she will answer any question concerning your New Jersey wedding planning.

Getting married is one of the great joys of life.  May you begin a lifetime of love and happiness!

Infinite Love,
Reverend Diane Cuesta

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