TRENTON – Last week, the Assembly approved a bill that would eliminate New Jersey’s 72-hour waiting period to receive a marriage license and streamline residency requirements. The bill’s sponsors believe the legislation would provide a boost to New Jersey’s wedding industry by making it easier for out-of-state residents to plan weddings at the state’s tourist destinations.
“This bill provides New Jersey’s small weddings market with a shot in the arm,” said Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden). “By gaining a competitive edge over our neighboring states, we will create jobs and jump-start the small businesses that make up New Jersey’s wedding and tourism industry.”
“This bill makes planning a wedding at one of the many wonderful destination wedding facilities in our state more practical,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union). “New Jersey will be able to offer a new benefit that the competition does not, which will help stimulate local economies and create jobs.”
The bill would eliminate the current mandatory 72-hour waiting period for issuance of a marriage or civil union license after an application is made, which was established in 1934.
In addition, the bill streamlines residency requirements for New Jerseyans applying for marriage and civil union licenses. Under current law, residents must apply for a marriage or civil union license in the municipality where either applicant resides; making it less convenient for residents to wed at one of the state’s over 50 destination wedding facilities and other premier accommodations. The bill allows residents to apply for licenses in the municipality where the wedding ceremony is to be performed as well.
By eliminating the waiting period, the bill also makes New Jersey more competitive with neighboring states, including Pennsylvania (72 hour waiting period), New York (24 hours), Delaware (24 hours), and Maryland (48 hours). New Jersey would join Connecticut and Rhode Island as the only states in the Northeast with no waiting period. 27 other states do not require a minimum waiting period for issuing a marriage or civil union license.
The bill was approved by a vote of 44-33-1 and now awaits action by the state Senate.
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