Victory! NJ Court Allows Marriages to Proceed in Lambda Legal’s Case

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October 10, 2013
Lambda Legal clients Karen and Marcye Nicholson-McFadden with their two children.

Today the New Jersey Superior Court denied the State’s motion to stay the September 27th ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry. Lambda Legal had filed a brief on behalf of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, and six same-sex couples who seek the freedom to marry, asking the Court to deny the motion.

Excerpt from today's decision:

In making this argument, however, the State 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.

Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director of Lambda Legal, said:

This is wonderful news! The court’s decision once again confirms that the hardships of not being able to marry are real and immediate. Every day does count. Allowing same-sex couples to marry helps many New Jersey families and hurts no one else.

Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Garden State Equality, said:

Momentum is with us. All couples in New Jersey need the dignity of marriage, and they need it now. We look forward to seeing many of them, who have been denied that dignity for too long, marry in the coming weeks.

In June 2011, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry, arguing that barring same-sex couples from marriage and relegating them to civil union violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution. This June, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, and Lambda Legal filed a motion for summary judgment in the New Jersey case, arguing that by barring marriage, the state of New Jersey now denies same-sex couples the full range of federal benefits, rights, and protections available after the Windsor decision. Just last Friday, on September 27, 2013, the New Jersey Superior Court ruled that same-sex couples in New Jersey must be allowed to marry. Unless it is stayed pending appeal, the decision takes effect on October 21.

Meet all the plaintiffs and their families.

Read the Order Denying Defendants Motion for a Stay and the Statement of Reasons Supporting the Denial of the State's Application for a Stay.

Learn more about the case, Garden State Equality v. Dow.

Read the press release.