New Jersey Abandons Appeal of Marriage Case

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October 21, 2013

(New York, October 21, 2013) – The State of New Jersey announced this morning that it is abandoning the State’s appeal of the decision issued by the New Jersey Superior Court that same-sex couples in New Jersey must be allowed to marry.  Marriages began at 12:01 a.m. this morning.
"It's done – New Jersey is the 14th state with the freedom to marry, and same-sex couples and their families can celebrate without fear that their rights and dignity will be taken away," said Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director for Lambda Legal. "The New Jersey Supreme Court made clear on Friday that same-sex couples were being denied equality, and the State has now - finally – chosen to stop standing in the way of love and fairness. What a joyous day!"

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. On September 27, 2013, the New Jersey Superior Court ruled that same-sex couples in New Jersey must be allowed to marry and set an effective date of October 21.

In 2002, Lambda Legal filed a historic case, Lewis v. Harris, seeking marriage equality on behalf of seven New Jersey couples. The case reached the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2006. The high court ruled unanimously that same-sex couples must be provided all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage, although it declined at that time to mandate that marriage was specifically required, and gave the state legislature 180 days to provide equality. The legislature hastily passed a civil union law in December 2006, and began issuing civil union licenses to lesbian and gay couples in February 2007.  In both the 2002 Lewis case as well as the current case,  Garden State Equality. v. Dow, the Gibbons Firm has been a strong pro bono partner with Lambda Legal contributing to the fight for the freedom to marry in New Jersey.

Meet all the plaintiffs and their families:

This case is Garden State Equality v. Dow

Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director, is handling this case for Lambda Legal. She is joined by co-counsel Lawrence S. Lustberg of Gibbons, PC.


Contact Info

Lambda Legal Contact:
Jonathan Adams O: 212-809-8585 ext: 267; C: 646-752-3251; E:

Garden State Equality Contact:
Troy Stevenson C: 973 830 0123 E: