Bill Text: NJ S1274 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: "Linnette Lebron's Law"; modifies procedures for marriage or civil union where a party is terminally ill.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-02-01 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S1274 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S1274-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 1274

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     "Linnette Lebron's Law"; modifies procedures for marriage or civil union where a party is terminally ill.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning marriage and civil union licenses, designated as Linnette Lebron's Law, amending various sections of the statutory law, and supplementing Title 37 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    R.S.26:8-41 is amended to read as follows:

     26:8-41.  Transmission of marriage and civil union licenses and certificates.  Every person or religious society, institution or organization solemnizing a marriage or civil union shall, within 5 days thereafter, transmit the certificate of marriage or civil union and the marriage or civil union license to the local registrar of the registration district in which the marriage or civil union occurs or to the clerk of the county board of health. In the case of marriages or civil unions performed pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3) or section 8 of P.L.     , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the person or religious society, institution or organization solemnizing the marriage or civil union, in addition to transmitting the certificate of marriage or civil union and the marriage or civil union license, shall also transmit the power of attorney.

     The local registrar or clerk of the county board of health shall stamp every certificate of marriage or civil union so received with the date of its receipt and the name of the registration district in which it is filed.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.179, s.1)

 

     2.    R.S.37:1-2 is amended to read as follows:

     37:1-2.  Necessity of marriage or civil union license; "licensing officer" defined.

     Before a marriage or a civil union can be lawfully performed in this State, the persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union shall obtain a marriage or civil union license from the licensing officer and deliver it to the person who is to officiate.  

     In the case of persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3), one of the persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union and the attorney-in-fact for the other person shall obtain a marriage or civil union license and deliver it to the person who is to officiate.

     In the case of persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union pursuant to section 8 of P.L.     , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), one of the persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union and the attorney-in-fact for the hospitalized terminally ill person, or the attorneys-in-fact for both persons, shall obtain a marriage or civil union license and deliver it to the person who is to officiate.  

     If the marriage or civil union is to be performed by or before any religious society, institution or organization, the license shall be delivered to such religious society, institution or organization, or any officer thereof.

     As used in this chapter, "licensing officer" means, as to cities of the first class, the city clerk; as to other municipalities, the State registrar; or the deputy of any said official designated by him to issue licenses during his absence.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.179, s.2)

 

     3.    R.S.37:1-4 is amended to read as follows:

     37:1-4.  Issuance of marriage or civil union license, emergencies, validity.

     [Except as provided in R.S.37:1-6, the] The marriage or civil union license shall not be issued by a licensing officer sooner than 72 hours after the application therefor has been made; provided, however, that [the]:

     a.     The Superior Court may, by order, waive all or any part of said 72-hour period in cases of emergency, upon satisfactory proof being shown to it.  Said order shall be filed with the licensing officer and attached to the application for the license; and

     b.    The 72-hour period may be waived in a case involving a hospitalized terminally ill person whose terminal illness is certified to the licensing officer by the treating physician of the terminally ill person. The licensing officer shall attach the certification from the treating physician to the application for the license.

     A marriage or civil union license, when properly issued as provided in this article, shall be good and valid only for 30 days after the date of the issuance thereof. 

(cf:  P.L.2006, c.103, s.9)

 

     4.    R.S.37:1-7 is amended to read as follows:

     37:1-7.  Issuing of license; remarriage or reaffirming a civil union.

     The licensing officer is hereby empowered to issue marriage or civil union licenses to the contracting parties who, either personally or through an attorney-in-fact pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3) , or pursuant to section 8 of P.L.     , c.     (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), apply therefor and are entitled under the laws of this State to contract matrimony or establish a civil union, authorizing the marriage or civil union of such parties, which license shall be substantially in the following form:

     "State of New Jersey.  County of          city, town or township of

     This is to certify that any person, religious society, institution or organization authorized by law to perform marriage or civil union ceremonies within the State of New Jersey to whom this may come, he or they not knowing any lawful impediment thereto, is hereby authorized and empowered to solemnize the rites of matrimony or the civil union between

     A          B          of      , in the county of          and State of    and C        D          of     , in the county of          and State of     , and to certify the same to be the said parties, or either of them, under his  hand and seal in his ministerial or official capacity.

     In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said town, township or city at      this         day                       of           two thousand and

                ,       (Name and official title)"

     If the contracting parties desire both a civil and a religious marriage or civil union ceremony, the licensing officer shall issue a license in duplicate, marking one as "issued for civil marriage or civil union ceremony" and one as "issued for religious marriage or civil union ceremony."

     Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the remarriage of a couple already married to each other or to prevent a couple who has entered into a civil union to reaffirm their commitment to one another; provided, a new license is obtained and the marriage or civil union properly reported.  Such license shall be plainly marked "Issued for remarriage--originally married to same mate at (state place) on (state date) or Issued for reaffirmation of a civil union-originally entered into a civil union to same mate at (state place) on (state date)."  Such a license shall be issued without compliance with the provisions of R.S.37:1-4 and if applicable of the provisions of "An act concerning marriages" approved May third, one thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight (P.L.1938, c.126).

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.179, s.3)

 

     5.    R.S.37:1-8 is amended to read as follows:

     37:1-8.  Testimony under oath by applicants or attorneys-in-fact as to legality of proposed marriage or civil union; witnesses; perjury.

     A licensing officer shall, before issuing a marriage or civil union license, require the contracting parties or, in the case of persons who intend to be married or to enter into a civil union pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3), one of the contracting parties and the attorney-in-fact for the other party, or, in the case of persons who intend to be married or enter into a civil union pursuant to section 8 of P.L.     , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the contracting party who is not terminally ill and the attorney-in-fact for the hospitalized terminally ill party, or the attorneys-in-fact for both parties, to appear before him and subscribe and swear to an oath attesting the truth of the facts respecting the legality of the proposed marriage or civil union as set forth in the form supplied by the State registrar.  Said testimony shall be verified by a witness of legal age.  A licensing officer shall issue a license only if it is thus made to appear before him that no legal impediment to the marriage or civil union exists.  Every licensing officer may administer oaths to:

     a.     the contracting parties [or,] and their identifying witness; or

     b.    in the case of persons who intend to be married or to enter into a civil union pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3), to one of the contracting parties and to the attorney-in-fact for the other contracting party and their identifying witness ; or

     c.     in the case of persons who intend to be married or to enter into a civil union pursuant to section 8 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to the contracting party who is not terminally ill and the attorney-in-fact for the terminally ill party, or the attorneys-in-fact for both parties, and their identifying witness.

     Any identifying witness, applicant applying for a marriage or civil union license or attorney-in-fact who shall knowingly make false answers to any of the inquiries asked by the licensing officer shall be guilty of perjury.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.179, s.4)

 

     6.    R.S.37:1-16 is amended to read as follows:

     37:1-16. Interrogation of applicants or attorneys-in-fact under oath; perjury.

     Any person authorized to solemnize marriages or civil unions may administer oaths to the parties applying to be married or to enter into a civil union or, in the case of persons applying to be married or to enter into a civil union pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3), to one of the contracting parties and to the attorney-in-fact for the other contracting party, or, pursuant to section 8 of P.L.     , c.     (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to the contracting party who is not terminally ill and the attorney-in-fact for the terminally ill party, or the attorneys-in-fact for both parties, and may require them, or either of them, to make true answers to any inquiries made by him in order to ascertain whether, in his judgment, any legal impediment to the proposed marriage or civil union exists.

     Any person who willfully makes false answers to any such inquiries shall, if the answers are reduced to writing, signed by the person making the same and attached to the certificate of marriage or civil union, be deemed guilty of perjury pursuant to N.J.S.2C:28-1.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.179, s.5)

 

     7.    Section 2 of P.L.1980, c.128 (C.37:1-17.1) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    License and certificate of marriage or civil union; transmittal.

     The license and the original certificate shall be transmitted pursuant to R.S.26:8-41.  One copy of the certificate shall be retained by the local registrar and one copy shall be given to the persons contracting the marriage or civil union. In the case of persons who have married or entered into a civil union pursuant to section 7 of P.L.2011, c.179 (C.37:1-17.3), one copy of the certificate shall be retained by the local registrar and one copy shall be given to one of the contracting persons and to the attorney-in-fact for the other contracting person.  In the case of persons who have married or entered into a civil union pursuant to section 8 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), one copy of the certificate shall be retained by the local registrar and one copy shall be given to the contracting party who is not terminally ill and to the attorney-in-fact for the terminally ill party, or to the attorneys-in-fact for both parties. The remaining copy shall be retained by the person solemnizing the marriage or civil union.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.179, s.6)

 

     8.    (New section)  a.  A hospitalized terminally ill person who is unable to appear for the licensure of his marriage or civil union may obtain licensure for that marriage or civil union by:

     (1)   the appearance of an attorney-in-fact, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through a power of attorney, pursuant to the provisions of subsection b. of this section; or

     (2)   the appearance of attorneys-in-fact for both parties, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through powers of attorney, pursuant to the provisions of subsection b. of this section; or

     (3)   by telephonic communication with the licensing officer, pursuant to the provisions of subsection c. of this section.

     b.    Pursuant to subparagraphs (1) or (2) of subsection a. of this section, the attorney-in-fact must personally appear before the licensing officer with the person who is not terminally ill, and present the original power of attorney duly signed by the terminally ill person and acknowledged by a notary, except that the person who is not terminally ill may be excused from appearing before the licensing officer if that person executes a separate power of attorney, acknowledged by a notary, permitting an attorney-in-fact to appear on his behalf as well.  Each power of attorney shall state the legal names of the parties to be married or enter into a civil union, and shall state that the power of attorney is solely for the purpose of authorizing the attorney-in-fact to obtain a marriage or civil union license on behalf of the terminally ill person and, where a power of attorney has also been executed by the person who is not terminally ill, on behalf of that person. Each power of attorney shall be accompanied by a certification by the terminally ill person's treating physician.  Each original power of attorney and accompanying certification shall be a part of the marriage or civil union certificate upon registration.

     c.     Pursuant to subparagraph (3) of subsection a. of this section,  in lieu of the appearance of an attorney-in-fact on behalf of the hospitalized terminally ill patient or attorneys-in-fact for both parties, the licensing officer shall, before issuing a marriage or civil union license, require the contracting to communicate by telephone with him and subscribe and swear to an oath attesting the truth of the facts respecting the legality of the proposed marriage or civil union as set forth in the form supplied by the State registrar.  Said testimony shall be verified by a witness of legal age who is in the presence of the contracting parties.  A licensing officer shall issue a license only if it is thus made to appear before him that no legal impediment to the marriage or civil union exists.  Every licensing officer may administer oaths to the contracting parties.

     Any identifying witness, applicant applying for a marriage or civil union license or attorney-in-fact who shall knowingly make false answers to any of the inquiries asked by the licensing officer shall be guilty of perjury.

     As used in this section, "terminally ill" means having an illness or injury that can reasonably be expected to result in death in 12 months or less as determined by the treating physician.

 

     9.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would modify the procedures for obtaining a marriage or civil union license when a party is terminally ill.  The bill is designated "Linnette Lebron's Law."

     Currently, persons intending to be married or to enter into a civil union in New Jersey must first obtain a marriage or civil union license from a licensing officer and deliver it to the person who is to officiate.  The statutes provide for a mandatory 72-hour waiting period from the time the application is made until the issuance of the license, unless all or part of that time has been waived by order of the Superior Court.  This bill addresses instances where one of the parties is terminally ill and hospitalized.  The bill is intended to reduce the amount of time these couples must attend to administrative matters, and to eliminate the 72-hour waiting period.

     Under the bill, the waiting period may be waived in a case involving a hospitalized terminally ill person whose terminal illness is certified to the licensing officer by the person's treating physician.  The licensing officer would attach the certification from the physician to the license application.

     The bill also allows the terminally ill person, or both parties, to obtain the marriage or civil union license through a power of attorney instead of appearing in person before the licensing officer.  The parties could also obtain the license by a telephone conference with the licensing officer.

     The bill provides that a hospitalized terminally ill person who is unable to appear before the licensing officer may obtain the marriage or civil union license by:

     (1)   the appearance of an attorney-in-fact on the person's behalf, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through a power of attorney; or

     (2)   the appearance of attorneys-in-fact for both parties, commissioned and empowered in writing for that purpose through powers of attorney; or

     (3)   telephonic communication with the licensing officer.

     Under the bill, the attorney-in-fact must personally appear before the licensing officer with the person who is not terminally ill, and present the original power of attorney duly signed by the terminally ill person and acknowledged by a notary, except that the person who is not terminally ill may be excused from appearing before the licensing officer if that person executes a separate power of attorney, acknowledged by a notary, permitting an attorney-in-fact to appear on his behalf as well.  Each power of attorney would state the legal names of the parties to be married or enter into a civil union, and state that the power of attorney is solely for the purpose of authorizing the attorney-in-fact to obtain a marriage or civil union license on behalf of the terminally ill person and, where a power of attorney has also been executed by the person who is not terminally ill, on behalf of that person.  Each power of attorney would be accompanied by a certification of the terminally ill person's treating physician. The power of attorney and accompanying certification would be a part of the marriage or civil union certificate upon registration.

     The bill provides that, in lieu of the appearance of an attorney-in-fact on behalf of the hospitalized terminally ill patient or attorneys-in-fact for both parties, the parties could obtain a license by telephone.  In this case the licensing officer would require the contracting parties communicating with him by telephone to subscribe and swear to an oath attesting the truth of the facts respecting the legality of the proposed marriage or civil union.  The parties' testimony would be verified by a witness of legal age who is in the presence of the contracting parties.

     Under current law, any identifying witness, license applicant, or attorney-in-fact who knowingly makes false answers to any of the inquiries asked by the licensing officer is guilty of perjury.  The bill as amended specifies that making knowingly false answers to telephone inquiries asked by the licensing officer would constitute perjury as well.

     The bill defines "terminally ill" as "having an illness or injury that can reasonably be expected to result in death in 12 months or less as determined by the treating physician."

     This bill is named after a Camden resident who passed away in February, 2015. While Linnette Lebron was dying in the hospital, her husband-to-be was forced to leave her side to go to court to try to obtain a waiver of the 72-hour waiting period.  They were married in the hospital and she died the next day.

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