American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

New Jersey Judge denies request to stay decision, allows gay and lesbian couples to get married starting Oct. 21

Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson denied a request to delay the implementation of last week’s historic ruling that would allow gay and lesbian couples to get married in New Jersey starting October 21. Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is expected to appeal to a higher court.

Judge Jacobson wrote:

“In making this argument, however, the State [of New Jersey] ignores the largely abstract nature of the harm it alleges, which pales in comparison to the concrete harm caused to Plaintiffs by their current ineligibility for many federal marital benefits, and the significant litigation burden they would have to shoulder to challenge federal denial of marital benefits to civil union couples,”

The harm caused by denying couples the right to marry was well documented by the 2010 Perry trial, which became a truth commission on the issue of marriage for gay and lesbian couples, and resulted in a historic decision that brought marriage equality to California.

In the New Jersey case, Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of Garden State Equality and six couples, arguing that preventing gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution. While couples are able to get a civil union in state, they are denied many federal benefits. The case is Garden State Equality v. Dow.