Ending New Jersey’s 72-hour Marriage Waiting Period May Boost Business & State Revenue

Wedding chapels may soon be jockeying for space on the Atlantic City boardwalk if proposed state legislation to end New Jersey’s 72-hour waiting period for couples seeking a marriage or civil union license becomes law.

Why end the wait? Introduced by Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-Camden) and state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), proponents of the marriage waiting period rule change say zero-wait weddings will give the state a competitive edge in the wedding tourism market and boost business in Atlantic City, Cape May and other New Jersey resort wedding destinations.

“This bill provides New Jersey’s small weddings market with a shot in the arm,” Greenwald said in a press statement on his website. “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.”

The proposed bill will also allow couples to apply for marriage or civil union licenses anywhere in the state, rather than the city in which they live, a move that possibly sets the stage for Atlantic City to become the Las Vegas of the East Coast for spur of the moment weddings. But if a couple marries on the fly after a night of high rolling and then wakes up in a state of not-so-wedded bliss? The bill gives them an easy out: proposed legislation allows for a marriage annulment without cause within 30 days if either a husband or wife requests it, according to NJ.com report.

Our own Bari Weinberger suggested, “From an economic perspective, there seems to be little doubt that it will be beneficial to local businesses. My concern is that if the bill requires a special annulment clause different from the current annulment provisions, it may be flawed from a cultural perspective.”

In the United States, 27 states have no waiting period for issuing marriage or civil union licenses. If passed, New Jersey would join Connecticut and Rhode Island as the only states in the Northeast without a marriage waiting period. Two of New Jersey’s neighboring states, New York and Delaware, both have 24-hour waiting periods.

Assembly Democrats News Release – 11/29/2011: