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Murphy, Mukherji & Armato Bill to End Waiting Period for Issuance of Marriage Licenses Heads to Senate

With an ongoing need to change requirements for various procedures that would put residents at greater risk during an emergency, three Assembly Democrats sponsor a bill that would limit the number of visits applicants have to make to an office in order to receive their marriage license. The legislation passed the full Assembly Thursday, 73-0-1.

Under the bill (A-2717), applicants for a marriage or civil union license would be able to receive the license the same day they request it, rather than having to wait 72 hours. This would prevent applicants from having to make an extra trip to the licensing office to pick it up.

Applicants would still be required to wait 72 hours before actually participating in a marriage or civil union ceremony, unless the applicant is an active military member or the Superior Court chooses to waive the waiting period in cases of emergency, as proven by the applicants.

Upon the bill’s passage, sponsors Carol Murphy (D-Burlington), Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) and John Armato (D-Atlantic) issued the following joint statement:

“During a statewide emergency, it’s important to find ways to limit how often residents need to leave their homes in order to accomplish important tasks. This is especially true when the nature of the emergency limits movement or involves a contagious disease such as COVID-19.

“When it comes to short-term emergencies, many people would likely put marriage plans on hold until the immediate danger had passed. For emergencies that last as long as this pandemic has, it is understandable that couples would still want to ‘tie the knot’ rather than wait an indefinite amount of time for the emergency’s conclusion.

“As such, we need to make safety a priority by limiting the number of times these couples need to go out into public to obtain their marriage license. Ending the 72-hour waiting period to allow same-day issuance of licenses would help limit the potential spread of COVID-19 both to and from applicants. This updated policy would also make the application process simpler and more convenient for applicants once the current public health crisis ends.”