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Same-sex marriage prevails in New Jersey

October 21st, 2013 by Joseph William Singer

Given the clear statement by the Supreme Court of New Jersey on how it was likely to rule in the pending marriage equality case, (see Garden State Equality v. Dow (N.J. 2013). Governor Chris Christie decided to drop the appeal. read article. That leaves the lower court ruling (read opinion here) in place with its conclusion that civil unions are not equal to marriages now that the federal government provides same-sex married couples the same federal rights as male-female married couples but does not confer such rights on partners to a civil union. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s prior ruling in Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2005), had found it to be a violation of the state constitution not to grant same-sex couples the same rights as married couples but left it to the legislature whether to call the resulting unions “marriages” or “civil unions” or something else. While New Jersey conferred equal rights under state law to “civil union” couples, they could not grant them the federal benefits of married couples; that would have been true even if they had allowed “marriages.” But after United States v. Windsor, married same sex couples do have the same federal benefits and married male-female couples so that created an inequality between married New Jersey couples and civil union New Jersey couples that could not stand under the state constitution.

Posted in Antidiscrimination law, Marital property, Sexual orientation | Comments Off on Same-sex marriage prevails in New Jersey

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