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Lambda Legal to Sue in NJ Following Marriage Equality Defeat

Lambda Legal announced plans to seek marriage equality in court following the 20-14 rejection of the marriage equality bill by the state senate.

Nj Said the group in a press release:

"The requirement to ensure equality for same-sex couples, established by the New Jersey Supreme Court in its decision in our marriage lawsuit in 2006, has not been met," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director at Lambda Legal.  "There is enormous, heartbreaking evidence that civil unions are not equal to marriage, and we will be going back to the courts in New Jersey to fight for equality. Too many families are at risk.  We cannot wait any longer."

When the Lewis v. Harris case was decided in 2006 two other states, Connecticut and Vermont, had civil union laws. Since then both states have thrown over those laws as unequal - one by court action and one by legislative action - and same-sex couples now have the right to marry there.  Same-sex couples can also marry in Massachusetts, Iowa, and New Hampshire. The City Council in the District of Columbia recently passed a marriage equality measure which was signed by the mayor and will likely go into effect in March.

"We applaud Garden State Equality and thousands of advocates for speaking up and working tirelessly for equality," added Cathcart.

Lambda Legal filed Lewis v. Harris in June 2002 on behalf of seven same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. The New Jersey Supreme Court issued its ruling on October 25, 2006, unanimously agreeing that it is unconstitutional to give same-sex couples lesser rights than different-sex couples, but leaving the remedy up to the legislature.  In December 2008 the Civil Union Review Commission, appointed by the legislature, issued its report documenting how civil unions fall short of the court-mandated equality for same-sex couples. Just since Thanksgiving, Garden State Equality reports that nearly 4,500 people have come to Trenton to lobby legislators to vote in favor of marriage for same-sex couples.

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  1. Court orders must be up held for all citizens. What's the point of having courts if what they decide is not respected? Again The march for Gay Civil Rights blazes new trails through the wilderness.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jan 7, 2010 6:23:10 PM

  2. this is great.
    some history:
    1) Lambda Legal's historic marriage case, Lewis v. Harris, resulted in victory in 2006 when the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of equality for same-sex couples. They gave 180 days to the legislature to fix it.

    2) The legilature quickly passed civil unions for same sex couples

    3) In December 2008 the NJ Civil Union Review Commission, appointed by the legislature, issued a report documenting how civil unions are a failure that fall short of the court-mandated equal treatment for same-sex couples.

    4) I believe that at that point, some legislators introduced a bill that would allow for same sex marriage.

    5) That bill did not pass, so now Lambda is bringing their case.

    What will the process look like (timing, which courts, predictions on the rulings)?

    Posted by: me | Jan 8, 2010 12:21:50 AM

  3. @Me

    Depends on how one defines winning I suppose.

    There's now substantive, real evidence - provided by the legislature's own report - that the civil unions scheme they put in place is still not an equal status to marriage. Which means they are not complying with the court's 2006 decision. By the legislature's own admission, they have lost that part of the argument already. Changes are necessary and will be forthcoming.

    Whether that means the court will mandate same-sex marriage outright or simply order them to do more tinkering with civil unions is anybody's guess though. Since there aren't any factual disputes to speak of, I hope the Supreme Court will bypass the trial and appellate levels completely and decide sooner rather than later. If they don't go through another trial, then it can be heard within a year. Otherwise, it will be several years before there's an outcome.

    Posted by: John | Jan 8, 2010 2:29:20 AM

  4. Smart for New Jersey gays.

    Obviously, the strategy of going back to the Jersey Supreme Court was in place even prior to this vote, which most thought was going down in flames anyway.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jan 8, 2010 10:52:25 AM

  5. @John - thank you!

    Posted by: me | Jan 8, 2010 5:27:15 PM

  6. very

    Posted by: sohbet odaları | Jan 27, 2013 7:04:58 PM

  7. asdasd

    Posted by: sohbet | Jan 27, 2013 7:05:08 PM

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