New Jersey can recognize gay marriages performed outside the state, but only for the purpose of divorce, State Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson said in an oral ruling on Feb 6. The ruling was issued in response to the case of a lesbian married in Canada who requested a split in the Garden State.
La Kia and Kinyati Hammond were married in British Columbia in 2004, and settled in Maryland. La Kia, who was diagnosed with terminal muscular dystrophy in 2005, left Kinyati and went to live in New Jersey, where she eventually met another woman she wanted to marry in Canada within the limited years doctors predicted she will survive.
The ruling does not mean that gay marriages from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Canada and a few other countries have to be acknowledged for reasons other than divorce.
Gay marriage is not legal in New Jersey, but civil unions extending rights comparable to marriage are allowed. Currently, gay marriages performed outside New Jersey are considered as civil unions inside the state.
Accordingly, the state attorney general argued that dissolution of Hammond’s civil union, and not a divorce, was in order. However, Hammond has countered that without a valid divorce she might not be allowed to remarry in Canada.