American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Gay and lesbian couples able to get married in New Jersey, State Supreme Court Rules

Gay and lesbian couples will be able to get married in New Jersey starting Monday, October 21. The Garden State joins 13 other states and the nation’s capital with marriage equality.

The State Supreme Court today unanimously denied a request to delay marriages while an appeal is heard to last month’s decision that called for marriage equality.

The Court ruled:

“The state [government] has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today. The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative.”

In 2006, the Supreme Court of New Jersey found that the State must provide gay and lesbian couples with equal rights and benefits of marriage. Civil union legislation went into effect in 2007.

Arguing that civil unions are insufficient and do not provide the same kind of protections and recognition that marriage does, Lambda Legal filed suit, representing Garden State Equality and six same-sex couples and their families.

Last month the State Superior Court agreed, ruling that:

“The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts. Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”

The State has appealed that decision and the case will proceed while marriages are taking place.