A news story on the minds of Boston residents this week is the newest win for gay rights activists in the neighboring state of New Jersey. In fact, the upcoming decisions made in these other states matters when gay couples move from one state to another in the U.S. This is particularly important as more states recognize same-sex divorce along with marriage rights.
Right now, six states, including Massachusetts, recognize same-sex marriages. This New Jersey development comes as more states grapple with what legal rights to award non-traditional couples. According to a Reuters’ report, the legislature in New Jersey legalized same-sex marriage earlier this week.
Next, the New Jersey gay marriage bill goes to the governor, a person who could be considered for a vice-presidential bid later this year. Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, has promised to use his governor’s veto on this bill. This may be a setback for gay rights in New Jersey.
The vote was passed in a majority of 42 to 33. However, Boston readers should note that the two chambers of the state assembly do not have the two-thirds majority of votes that would be required to override a gubernatorial veto.
In related news, Maryland’s House of Delegates postponed until late Feb. 16 a debate on the “Civil Marriage Protection Act,” which has the sponsorship of the liberal governor, Democrat Martin O’Malley. This bill already passed with enough votes in two committees, but not the entire House.
Gay rights activists are also watching the progress of similar legislative bills in other states such as Washington and Colorado. If a same-sex couple seeks a divorce, the laws governing the state in which they file for divorce will affect their outcomes, such as providing for division of property and spousal support.
Source: Reuters.com, “New Jersey assembly OKs gay marriage; veto awaits,” Dave Warner, Feb. 16, 2012