This week, New Jersey’s neighbor Pennsylvania became the 19th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
On May 20, 2014, federal Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania threw out the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, writing that, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”
On May 21, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania said he would not appeal Judge Jones’s decision. How same-sex marriage played out in Pennsylvania bears some similarity to New Jersey, where same-sex marriage also was legalized by a judicial decision and made more concrete when a Republican governor decided not to pursue an appeal.
While the implications of this decision are not yet fully clear, we hope it means that married same-sex couples in New Jersey can now cross the Delaware River without fear of losing their rights under state law.
Marriage has an impact on taxes, estate planning, guardianship, Medicaid, long-term care planning, healthcare and many other areas of concern to our clients. For more information on legal concerns for same-sex couples, please see Mark Friedman’s article Estate Planning for Same-sex Couples.