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On November 7, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take its first serious look at the issue of gay marriage, granting review of California’s ban on same-sex marriage and of a federal law that defines marriage as only the legal union of a man and a woman. The cases will be argued in March 2013 with a decision expected by late June 2013. At the very least, the court will look at this question: When states choose to permit the marriages of same-sex couples, can the federal government refuse to recognize their validity? But by also taking up the California case, the court could get to the more fundamental question of whether the states must permit marriages by gay people in the first place. The California case involves a challenge to Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment approved by 52% of voters in 2008. It banned same-sex marriages in the state and went into effect after 18,000 couples were legally married earlier that year.
A federal judge declared the ban unconstitutional, and a federal appeals court upheld that ruling, though on narrower grounds that apply only to California. Now that the Supreme Court is wading into the battle, the justices could decide the more basic issue of whether any state can ban same-sex marriage under the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the law. Or they could limit their ruling to apply only to the ban in California. 9 states and the District of Columbia have moved to permit same-sex marriage or soon will — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington.
The Supreme Court also agreed Friday to hear a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, passed by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton. A provision of the law specifies that, for federal purposes, “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Because of DOMA, gay couples who wed in the nine states where same-sex marriage is permitted are considered legally married only under state law. The federal government is barred from recognizing their marriages. As a result, they are denied over 1,000 federal benefits that are available to traditional couples.
The Appellate Division in a published decision rendered sharp criticism for convoluted protocol and procedure as to the manner and means employed preparing a judgment of divorce. Not only was the judge reversed for failing to provide adequate explanations for her rulings, but on remand the case must be heard by a different judge. Ducey v. Ducey, New Jersey App. Div., February 2, 2012
Under a bill recently introduced couples would be able to obtain an annulment of a New Jersey marriage or civil union if filed within 30 days of the ceremony. New Jersey Assembly Bill # A-1335, January 2012
A new study entitled “Divorce and Death” shows that broken marriages can kill at the same rate as smoking cigarettes. Indications that the risk of dying is a full 23% higher among divorcées than married people surprised even the researchers, who didn’t think life expectancy would be slashed to ages comparable with smokers, heavy drinkers, and the obese.
The stats are certainly newsworthy, but you have to read past the headlines. Study authors David Sbarra and Paul Nietert are careful to note that the associations between divorce and death “cannot be deemed causal.” It’s not as if you file your divorce papers and the Grim Reaper gets an email to move you up on his calendar. Rather, the research indicates that “there is something uniquely difficult about remaining separated or divorced that accelerates time of death.”
Ex-husbands are at significantly higher risk of early death than their ex-wives. Why? Because wives help keep their husbands alive. Men generally die younger than women, but wives are de facto healthcare proxies. Relationship studies dating back to the 1970s have shown that without a woman around, a man’s health fails and he does little about it. Awareness campaigns and technology advances have improved the prognosis; men are more likely to attempt self-diagnosis on the web, and alert systems are available to single shut-ins who have fallen down and can’t get up. But these are afterthoughts, whereas companionship builds in prevention.
A bill that would end the state’s waiting period for couples looking to wed has cleared the legislature. Currently the state imposes a 72-hour waiting period for couples seeking a marriage license. But the Assembly and Senate passed a measure on January 9, 2012 to eliminate the waiting period and streamline residency requirements. The measure’s sponsors, Assemblyman Louis Greenwald and Sen. Nicholas Scutari, say the law was antiquated — it dates back to 1934 — and getting rid of it will give New Jersey a competitive edge in the wedding tourism market. Nearby states like New York and Delaware only have 24-hour waiting periods.
Democratic leaders announced at a news conference on January 9, 2012 a bill legalizing gay marriage will be the first measure introduced in the new session of the Senate and the Assembly. A unified Democratic leadership represents the best chance supporters will have to see a bill legalizing gay marriage move through the Assembly and Senate. State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who is now said to be a pivotal supporter of the legislation, abstained the last time a similar bill was voted down by the Legislature in 2010 — a decision he later said he regretted more than any other in his career.
But there’s a major obstacle, Governor Christie who has emphasized in the past that he opposes gay marriage and supports civil unions which New Jersey currently allows. New Jersey has historically been on the forefront of the national debate over gay marriage but has lagged behind Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and, most recently, New York.
A new report shows that the share of American adults who are married dropped to a record low in 2009-2010 — to just a smidgen over half of population 18 and older. And the age at which Americans first tie the knot has never been higher, according to analysis of U.S. Census data by Pew Research Center published on December 13, 2011.
The “market share” of marriage has been in decline for decades — from 72% in 1960 to 51% today, a trend that has been accompanied by a rising tolerance for single parents, cohabitation without marriage and other alternatives. At the current pace, the share of U.S. adults who are married will dip to less than half within a few years, the Pew study says.
Over the long haul, the marriage rate for the 18-29 age group has fallen from 59% in 1960 to 20 % today. Divorce rates soared in the 1960s and ’70s, becoming a major factor in the growing contingent of singles in the United States but then leveled off in the last two decades.
A bill that aims to have New Jersey compete with other states that have created a small industry around weddings has passed an Assembly committee. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald, D-Camden, would eliminate the state’s 72-hour waiting period for a marriage license in order to give New Jersey a “competitive edge” over neighboring states when it comes to tourism dollars generated from weddings. The bill also raises the license fee for marriages from $28 to $60. In the Northeast only Connecticut and Rhode Island have no waiting period. New York and Delaware have 24-hour periods; Maryland’s waiting period is 48 hours. Pennsylvania has a 72-hour wait.
The husband sought to have the wife excluded from the residence, arguing her conduct toward him made his life intolerable. He also alleged that she was a bad influence on their 17 year old son because she had an affair with a young man who had lived with them in the marital residence. Although the wife admitted to the affair she denied that it had been conducted at the marital residence and that the son had any knowledge of it. Read the rest of this entry »