NJ Family Law | Same Sex Marriage

For there will come a time when there is no such thing as same sex marriage….there will only be


James Obergefell and John Arthur defined love, honor and their commitment to one another. Theirs is a story about a love that transcends death. It is about two people, in this case two men who loved one another for twenty years. They lived in Ohio. Ohio did not recognize same sex marriage. John was dying from ALS. To seal their commitment to one another over their twenty year relationship, they, with their friends raised enough money to fly John with a medical support plane to Baltimore, MD where they were married on the tarmac just three months shy of his death. Knowing that John’s death was imminent James wished to list John as his surviving spouse on his death certificate. That was not a possibility in Ohio. It is James’ suit to achieve that goal that resulted in the Supreme Court decision of Obergefell et al. v. Hodges Director, Ohio Department of Health et. al., DECIDED JUNE 26, 2015.

HELD: The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was licensed and performed out-of-State.

Justice Kennedy, eloquently and beautifully concluded the majority opinion:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitions in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

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