On June 24, 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill approving same sex-marriage. The law goes in to effect in 30 days though religious institutions and nonprofit groups with religious affiliations will not be compelled to officiate these marriages. The legislation also gives same-sex couples the right to divorce.
As we have previously reported, New Jersey only allows Civil Unions, a remedy that many have noted does not provide the same rights as marriage. That said, last year, the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to hear a case attacking the inequalities of the New Jersey civil union statute. In addition, since the federal government does not recognize gay marriage, same-sex couples cannot file joint federal tax returns and there are other inequalities as it relates to ERISA covered benefits, etc.