When a set of laws is called the “Married Women’s Property Acts,” you’ve got to figure they are good for women. In New Jersey’s case, maybe not. At least, not anymore. The laws allow married women to own, control, and dispose of property. They were first enacted in the 1800’s and represented an advance for women’s rights at the time. Prior to the statutes’ enactment, the common law had imposed restrictions on married women’s legal and property rights.
The repeal of the “Married Women’s Property Acts” was recommended by the New Jersey Law Revision Commission in its November 2007 report, which described the statutes as “a demeaning relic.”
State Senators Loretta Weinberg and Jennifer Beck feel these statutes are no longer needed, as there is no question today that married women have equal rights to property. The New Jersey Constitution and the “Law Against Discrimination,” guarantee equal protection to all citizens. Weinberg and Beck are co-sponsoring a measure to repeal the “Married Women’s Property Acts.”
The legislation also would eliminate two other statutes. You might find it difficult to believe that they’re still on the books, but they are. They’re called “Bar by consent to ravisher,” and “Immediate marriage if arrested upon criminal charge. ” Below is the exact wording of the current statutes………..
Bar by consent to ravisher; “If a wife after being ravished, consents to the ravisher, she shall be disabled and forever barred from having her jointure or dower, unless her husband is voluntarily reconciled to her and permits her to dwell with him, in which case she shall be restored to her jointure or dower.”
Immediate marriage if arrested upon criminal charge; “If a person is arrested upon a criminal charge, involving an accusation of bastardy, rape, fornication or of having had carnal knowledge of an unmarried female, and the accused person consents to marry such female, any licensing officer is authorized to immediately issue a marriage license.”