4 South Jersey Towns Cited for Marriage License Discrimination
Four South Jersey towns in Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties were cited Wednesday for using marriage license applications that only allow people to identify themselves as male or female – a violation of state law.
West Cape May in Cape May County; Commercial Township and Vineland in Cumberland County; and Carney's Point in Salem County were among a total of 28 towns in the state found to be in violation of the Department of Health's marriage license form, which has included a third option for nonbinary people since 2019.
The Attorney General's Office warned each of the towns that the language in their marriage license forms violates state law, which could result in fines of up to $10,000.
The towns were told to update their websites in accordance with the law and to include links to the Department of Health's marriage application, making them free from gender-restrictive language and to adopt a written anti-discrimination policy.
“Marriage equality is not just the law. It is a fundamental right,” said Attorney General Platkin in a release. “The marriage equality enforcement actions we are announcing today reflect our continued commitment to ensuring that municipal governments do not discriminate against couples seeking marriage licenses on the basis of their gender, gender identity, or gender expression.”
Using language that excludes nonbinary, transgender, or other gender non-conforming people on marriage applications is a violation of NJ's Law Against Discrimination.
"The law in New Jersey is crystal clear: No one can be denied the fundamental right to marry based on their gender identity," said Sundeep Iyer, director of the Division of Civil Rights. "Municipal governments have an obligation to ensure that they are not excluding LGBTQIA+ individuals from applying for marriage licenses. Today's enforcement actions underscore our ongoing commitment to ensuring that marriage equality remains a reality for our state's LGBTQIA+ residents."