Scutari-Whelan Bill To Modernize NJ Marriage And Civil Union License Requirements Heads To Governor

Eliminating Waiting Period Will Stimulate Tourism and Hospitality Industry

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union) and Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) to modernize the state’s marriage and civil union license requirements, which would give New Jersey’s tourism and hospitality industry a competitive advantage over states across the region and the country, received final approval today in the Assembly.

“While New Jersey is a premier destination for weddings, we can make our state more attractive to tourists by modernizing the process of filing for a license and making it easier for out-of-state consumers to wed here,” said Senator Scutari. “Drawing more tourists to New Jersey will also help to create jobs at our small businesses and help to improve our local economies.”

The measure, S-2399, would eliminate the mandatory 72-hour waiting period for issuance of a marriage or civil union license after an application is made, giving New Jersey a competitive edge over neighboring states. The current waiting period makes it cumbersome for out-of-state consumers to plan weddings at New Jersey’s many tourism destinations, depriving local economies of needed tourism dollars.

“New Jersey has plenty of locations that offer a perfect setting for weddings, including those along our state’ coastline,” said Senator Whelan. “By updating the process for obtaining a marriage or civil union license in the state, we will draw more tourists to our communities and provide a boost to vacation destinations like Atlantic City which offer all of the makings of a world-class oceanfront wedding.”

By eliminating the waiting period, the measure will make New Jersey more competitive with neighboring states, including Pennsylvania (72 hour waiting period), New York (24 hours), Delaware (24 hours), and Maryland (48 hours). Under the bill, New Jersey would join Connecticut and Rhode Island as the only states in the Northeast with no waiting period. Thirty states allow couples to be issued a marriage license on the date of application.

The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 25-9 in February. The Assembly approved it by a vote of 52-22-2. It now heads to the desk of the governor.