Stay up to date with the latest wedding ceremony trends, script writing inspiration, tips and advice for first-time officiants, and news that matters to couples and wedding ministers.

Interracial marriage protections are now codified in New Jersey law

Published Wednesday, Sep. 6th, 2023

Photo: Gift Habeshaw

New Jersey strengthens protections for interracial marriage with amendment to state law



New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law earlier this week that explicitly protects interracial marriage rights in the state. (Woo! Finally!)


Effective immediately, state marriage law § 37:1-1 is amended to read: 

c. Laws concerning marriage and civil union shall be read with gender and race neutral intent.


*amendment shown in blue

• See all New Jersey marriage laws here


Although interracial marriage has been legal in New Jersey for many years, following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving v. Virginia in 1967, it hasn’t been protected directly at the state level until now. 


The move to codify interracial marriage rights in the state began in earnest in 2022, shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022) overturned Roe v Wade (1973). This shocking decision by a conservative-majority SCOTUS has raised significant concerns that other cases – including Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges, which rely on similar understandings of the right to privacy – might also be overturned in the future. If that happened, any defunct state ban still on the books (prohibiting interracial or same-sex marriages) could become active again. 


Related: The Threat to Same-Sex Marriage in a Post-Roe World


In response, NJ Rep. John McKeon (D) introduced the legislation described above (NJ A4939) in December of 2022, in order to add protections for race to the existing law which protects same-sex marriages. The bill was passed by the Assembly in March, and by the Senate in June, 2023, and was signed by Gov. Murphy on September 5th, 2023.


Now, marriage rights for people of any race or gender are protected in New Jersey, regardless of any future Supreme Court decisions or changes to federal laws.


That's good news!



AMM's previous coverage of this legislation: 



Get Ordained Online & Officiate Weddings! 
Read How to Become a Wedding Officiant in New Jersey


Conviértete en un Oficiante de Bodas en New Jersey


Friends and family members can perform legal weddings in New Jersey if they've been ordained online. Ordination with American Marriage Ministries is inclusive, free, easy, and fast. Click the link below to get started and learn how to officiate weddings today. 





Read Next: 




A happy father walks his daughter down the aisle during an outdoor wedding ceremony

Photo: Jakob Owens / Unsplash

Planning a New Jersey wedding? This short guide will help! Read the full article here.



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

How To Officiate By State

Will You Marry Us? Gift Package

Who Will Officiate Your Wedding?

Choose Your Officiant with our "Will You Marry Us?" Gift Package.

Signature Wedding Officiant Package

Signature Wedding Officiant Package

Our premiere package contains everyting you need to officiate like a pro.

The Book of Wedding Vows and Ceremonies

The Book of Wedding Vows and Ceremonies

It's finally here! Timeless scripts and heartfelt vow inspiration to bring life to your ceremony.

Professional Wedding Officiant Certification Course

Learn from the Pros to Officiate with Confidence!

Wedding Officiant Training

Wedding Officiant Training

Everything you need to know to officiate.

Read our sample wedding ceremony scripts online

Sample Wedding Ceremony Scripts

Need inspiration? Check out our free ceremony scripts!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!


Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!