If you are half of a same-sex couple, some worries may have crept into the back of your mind after the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. While the decision overruled the Roe v. Wade precedent, Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion said the court should reconsider its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet accepted a case that could overturn the Obergefell decision, Justice Thomas’s concurrence is enough to make any member of the LGBTQ community feel uneasy. Fortunately, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court chooses to do in the next term or subsequent ones, your same-sex marriage is probably safe in New Jersey.
State law protects same-sex marriage
Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling, many states continue to outlaw same-sex marriage either by statute or in their constitutions. These states are unable to enforce their same-sex marriage prohibitions, though, because of the Obergefell decision.
Luckily, New Jersey is not one of these states. In fact, according to his office, New Jersey’s governor signed a bill in early 2022 that made same-sex marriage the law of the land in the Garden State. Therefore, even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its gay marriage ruling, same-sex marriage will remain legal in New Jersey.
No one knows what other states might do
The Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause requires every state to recognize the decrees and judgments of other states. Even if states begin to outlaw gay marriage in the future, your New Jersey same-sex marriage should remain legally valid everywhere.
Ultimately, even though no one knows what other states might do in a post-Obergefell America, it is probably too early to lose sleep over the status of your marriage.