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Same-sex marriage in New Jersey

Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  2. When performed in the Netherlands proper

* Not yet in effect

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Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in New Jersey since October 21, 2013, the effective date of a trial court ruling invalidating the state's restriction of marriage to persons of different sexes.

In September 2013, a judge of the Superior Court ruled that as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor, New Jersey's constitution requires the state to recognize same-sex marriages.[1] The Windsor decision held that the federal government was required to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples who were married under state law as to other married couples. Therefore, the state court reasoned in Garden State Equality v. Dow, because same-sex couples in New Jersey were limited to civil unions, which are not recognized as marriages under federal law, the state must permit civil marriage for same-sex couples. This ruling, in turn, relied on the 2006 decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis v. Harris that the state was constitutionally required to afford the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court had ordered the state legislature to correct the constitutional violation, by permitting either same-sex marriage or civil unions with all the rights and benefits of marriage, within 180 days. In response, the legislature passed a bill to legalize civil unions on December 21, 2006, which became effective on February 19, 2007.

In 2012, the New Jersey Legislature had passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, but it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

Following the trial court decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow, the Christie administration asked the state Supreme Court to grant a stay of the decision pending appeal. On October 18, 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously denied the request for a stay.[2] Three days later, on the day the trial court ruling went into effect and local officials had begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and some wedding ceremonies had been performed, the Governor withdrew the state's appeal.[3] This action removed the last potential impediment to same-sex marriages in the state.


  • Domestic partnerships 1
  • Civil unions 2
    • Lewis v. Harris 2.1
    • Civil Union Act 2.2
    • Civil unions in practice 2.3
  • Same-sex marriage 3
    • History of same-sex marriage in New Jersey 3.1
    • Legislation 3.2
    • Garden State Equality v. Dow 3.3
  • Recognition of out-of-state relationships 4
  • Economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples 5
  • Public opinion 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Domestic partnerships

New Jersey was one of the first states to implement a domestic partnerships scheme, after California, in 2003. Advocates of same sex unions sued to transcend domestic partnership in the case, Lewis v. Harris in 2006. The judges struck down the domestic partnership arrangement, and split four to three to allow the legislature to pass civil unions instead of allowing same-sex marriage. In December 2006, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill providing for civil unions and recognizing other states' civil unions.

The New Jersey Legislature enacted the Domestic Partnership Act, P.L.2003, c. 246, on January 12, 2004, which came into effect on July 10, 2004. The law made domestic partnerships available to all same-sex couples, as well as to different-sex couples aged 62 and older. The domestic partnership statute provides "limited healthcare, inheritance, property rights and other rights and obligations" but "[does] not approach the broad array of rights and obligations afforded to married couples."[4] For example, as Lambda Legal states, the law "required health and pension benefits [only] for state employees—it was voluntary for other employers—and did not require family leave to care for an ill partner."[5]

The domestic partnership statute remains in place even though New Jersey subsequently enacted a civil union statute. Couples in an existing domestic partnership are not required to enter a civil union. However, new domestic partnerships are available only to couples in which both partners are 62 and over, whether same-sex or different-sex.[4][5]

Civil unions

Lewis v. Harris

On October 25, 2006, the Supreme Court of New Jersey unanimously ruled in Lewis v. Harris that the "unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution." With the Harris decision, same-sex couples were granted the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as heterosexual couples with respect to their relationships.

While the decision was widely reported as a 4–3 split, the differences between the Justices on the Court were on whether only the provision of civil marriage rights to same-sex couples would resolve the constitutional defect, or whether another change in statute would pass constitutional scrutiny. The Court avoided the question of what to call the legal status, leaving that to, as the majority stated, the "crucible of the democratic process."

The dissent, led by then-Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz, chastised the junior members of the Court who said that anything other than marriage would provide equal rights: "What we name things matters, language matters...Labels set people apart surely as physical separation on a bus or in school facilities...By excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage, the State declares that it is legitimate to differentiate between their commitments and the commitments of heterosexual couples. Ultimately the message is that what same-sex couples have is not as important or as significant as real marriage, that such lesser relationships cannot have the name of marriage."

The court gave the state legislature six months to enact legislation providing for civil unions.

Civil Union Act

On December 14, 2006, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill providing for civil unions[6] which was signed into law by then-Governor Jon Corzine on December 21, 2006. The Civil Union Act came into effect on February 19, 2007.

Same-sex couples who enter into a civil union are provided almost all of the rights granted to married couples under New Jersey state law. However, under the provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, same-sex couples in civil unions and domestic partnerships do not have any right or entitlement to the 1,138 rights that a married couple has under federal law.[7] Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

The law provides[6] for the creation of a Civil Unions Review Commission that will evaluate the law's effectiveness and any problems resulting therefrom, and will report every six months for three years following enactment to assess the impact of the law. The first meeting of the Civil Unions Review Commission took place on June 18, 2007. The Commission elected a chair, Frank Vespa-Papaleo, the current Director of the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, and the Commission plans on meeting monthly as well as conducting periodic public meetings.[8]

According to the new civil union law,[6] when a same-sex couple receives a civil union, their domestic partnership is automatically terminated by the civil union. However, those couples who remain in domestic partnerships and elect to not enter into a civil union will be allowed to remain as domestic partners. New domestic partnerships can still be formed if both partners are 62 years of age or older.

Civil unions in practice

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) took a formal position against the adoption of Civil Unions law, citing inherent and obvious problems and confusion the law has for the state's citizens and the legal representation. In addition, the NJSBA formally endorsed the marriage bill proposed by openly gay Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, saying that only marriage equality would meet the standard mandated by the Lewis decision.

During the first 90 days after the law went into effect, 852 same-sex couples entered civil-unions, according to the Garden State Equality reported that it has received complaints from 102 couples denied benefits by employers or insurers. On May 22, 2007, the Star-Ledger reported that the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights has received at least 270 inquiries from couples in civil unions denied benefits by employers or insurers. As of June 18, 2007, only two complaints had been filed with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, it was reported at the first meeting of the Civil Unions Review Commission.

According to the LGBT civil rights organization Garden State Equality, by the end of July 2007, 211 of the 1,358 couples who had entered New Jersey civil unions since February 19 had "reported to Garden State Equality that their employers refused to recognize their civil unions."[9] Among the companies flouting state law were shipping companies UPS, FedEx, and DHL, as well as a number of Fortune 500 companies.

A UPS spokesman claimed that language in its collective bargaining agreement with the Teamsters union prevented it from extending benefits to same-sex partners.[10] On July 20, 2007, Gov. Jon Corzine sent a letter to UPS officials on behalf of a UPS driver and her partner, asking the company to comply with New Jersey law and extend spousal benefits such as health insurance to civil union partners. On July 30, a UPS spokesman said: "We have received clear guidance that, at least in New Jersey, the state truly views civil union partners as married. We've heard that loud and clear from state officials and we're happy to make this change." The company also noted that it already offers equal benefits to married same-sex couples in Massachusetts and would review its policies in Connecticut and Vermont.[11]

Same-sex marriage

2011 protest in New Jersey by Garden State Equality in support of marriage equality and against deportation of LGBT spouses.

History of same-sex marriage in New Jersey

Beginning March 5, 2004, D. Kiki Tomek, deputy city clerk of Asbury Park, processed same-sex marriage licenses for several days.[12] Deputy Mayor James Bruno married one couple on March 8 and then Tomek heeded a warning from the state attorney general to stop issuing such licenses.[13]

In late 2009, lame duck Governor Jon Corzine stated that he would sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage if it came to his desk before he left office, while his newly elected Republican successor Chris Christie said that he would promote a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.[14] However, the political situation at the time made such an amendment unlikely, and Gov. Christie now supports a public vote on same-sex marriage; while he is personally opposed to it, he has promised not to revisit the same-sex marriage issue if it is legalized by popular vote.[15]

A same-sex marriage bill was introduced to the legislature but was defeated in the Senate on January 7, 2010.[16] A similar bill passed both houses of the legislature in February 2012 but was vetoed by Christie. Under New Jersey law, the legislature has until the end of the session in which it passed the bill to override a governor's veto. Therefore, the legislature has until January 2014 to override the veto.[17]

On September 27, 2013, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry, in light of the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor.[18] Jacobson said that as of October 21, 2013, the state "shall permit" same-sex couples to marry.[18] Governor Chris Christie's administration appealed Judge Jacobson's ruling and also requested a stay of its execution. The state Supreme Court accepted the appeal on October 11 and scheduled oral arguments for January 6–7, 2014.[19]

On October 18, 2013, the Supreme Court rendered a provisional, unanimous (7–0 vote) order denying the stay, thereby provisionally authorizing same-sex marriage in the state, pending its decision on the state's appeal of Judge Jacobson's ruling.[20]

A commission was formed to review whether civil unions brought equality to same sex couples. It determined that civil unions failed to provide equal treatment. On December 10, 2008, the Commission released its unanimous finding that marriage laws should be made gender neutral to ensure equal treatment of same-sex couples.[21] Governor Corzine had indicated that he would sign a bill to allow same-sex marriage.[22]


On December 7, 2009, the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee approved a civil marriage equality bill by a vote of 7 to 6, after seven hours of testimony and debate. It was amended in committee to clarify that clergy would not be required to perform weddings for same-sex couples. On January 7, 2010, the New Jersey State Senate defeated the measure in a 20–14 vote.[23]

On February 13, 2012, the State Senate passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 24 to 16, and on February 16, the Assembly passed it by a vote of 42 to 33, with three Republicans and one Democrat not voting, and one Democratic seat temporarily vacant. In neither house was the bill passed by a veto-proof majority. Governor Christie vetoed the bill the next day and called for a constitutional amendment for same-sex marriage to be presented to the voters as a ballot referendum.[24]

On February 21, 2013, state Democratic leaders announced plans to hold a vote to override the governor's 2012 veto. The legislation needs three additional votes in the Senate and 12 in the House.[25] Democratic legislative leaders exchanged charges with Christie in July. Senate President Stephen Sweeney said the Governor was intimidating some Republicans who supported same-sex marriage and State Senator

  • Garden State Equality's "Practical Guide to Civil Unions"
  • Text of New Jersey Civil Unions Bill (long PDF document)
  • , links to pages on requirements for domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriagesFrequently Asked Questions, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, March 20, 2007
  • Lambda Legal FAQ
  • "NJ Ag Issues Opinion on Marriage Recognition," February 16, 2007
  • Garden State Equality

External links

  1. ^ Zernike, Kate (October 21, 2013). "As Gays Wed in New Jersey, Christie Ends Court Fight". New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "NJ Supreme Court won't delay gay marriage".  
  3. ^ "NJ Gov. Chris Christie drops challenge to gay marriage; conservatives are angry". Associated Press via The Washington Post. October 21, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Rabner, Stuart (February 17, 2007). "Formal Opinion" (PDF). Attorney General (New Jersey). Retrieved July 24, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b "Civil Unions for Same-sex Couples in New Jersey" (PDF). (Lambda Legal). 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007. 
  6. ^ a b c "New Jersey Public Law 2006, c.103" (PDF). New Jersey Legislature. 2006. Retrieved July 31, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Defense of Marriage Act: Update to Prior Report, Letter to Senator Bill Frist" (PDF). General Accounting Office. United States. January 23, 2004. Retrieved April 28, 2007. 
  8. ^ "The New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission". Division on Civil Rights.  
  9. ^ , July 30,"As UPS caves in, Fed Ex, DHL and scores of other companies continue to flaunt New Jersey's civil unions law,"
  10. ^ Corzine urges UPS to honor civil unions," ''Asbury Park Press'', July 21, 2007. "The company's current union contract specifies that the benefits can only be extended to 'spouses,' but that New Jersey's civil unions law doesn't specifically call civil union partners 'spouses.'"""". Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  11. ^ Mulvihill, Geoff (July 30, 2007). "UPS changes policy, gives benefits to partners of gay N.J. workers". USA Today. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  12. ^ Crampton, Thomas (March 10, 2004). "Issuing Licenses, Quietly, To Couples in Asbury Park". New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  13. ^ Crampton, Thomas (March 11, 2013). "Asbury Park Halts Gay-Marriage Applications, Sending Issue to Courts". New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  14. ^ "GOP victory in NJ ensures focus on gay marriage". November 4, 2009. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Chris Christie in tough spot after gay marriage ruling – Maggie Haberman". Politico.Com. 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  16. ^ Kocieniewski, David (January 8, 2010). "New Jersey Senate Defeats Gay Marriage Bill". New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  17. ^ Amick, Greg (September 16, 2013). "Amick: Gay marriage advocates lobby to override Christie's veto". Star-Ledger. 
  18. ^ a b "Judge says same-sex couples in N.J. can marry". Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  19. ^ Lowe, Claire (2013-10-15). "NJ Supreme Court to hear gay marriage appeal". Shore News Today. 
  20. ^ Salvador Rizzo (2013-10-18). "Same-sex weddings can begin pending appeal, N.J. Supreme Court rules". New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved 2013-10-18. 
  21. ^ Livio and Heiniger (December 10, 2008). "Commission says New Jersey should allow gay marriage".  
  22. ^ "Panel says New Jersey should allow gay marriage," Reuters, 12/10/08
  23. ^ Kocieniewski, David (January 7, 2010). "New Jersey Senate Defeats Gay Marriage Bill". New York Times. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  24. ^ Kate Zernike (February 17, 2012). "Christie Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill". New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  25. ^ Isherwood, Darryl R. (February 21, 2013). "Senate and Assembly to hold gay marriage veto override before end of term, Gusciora says". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  26. ^ Rizzo, Salvador (July 3, 2013). "N.J. Democrats press Republicans to 'vote their conscience' on gay marriage". Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Assemblyman who originally opposed same-sex marriage bill will support veto override". PolitickerNJ. 2013-10-02. 
  28. ^ "New Jersey Supreme Court Declines Gay Marriage Case". New York Times. July 26, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  29. ^ Newark Star-Ledger: Matt Friedman, "Advocates file lawsuit hoping to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey," June 29, 2011, accessed June 29, 2011
  30. ^ "NJ JUDGE: STATE MUST ALLOW GAYS TO MARRY". Associated Press. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  31. ^ "Decision on Motion for Summary Judgement" (PDF). Garden State Equity v. Dow, N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div., Docket MER-L-1729-11 (Sept. 27, 2013). 
  32. ^ "Chris Christie Appeals Gay Marriage Ruling To Higher Court". Huffington Post. September 30, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Order Denying Defendants' Motion for a Stay" (PDF). Garden State Equality v. Dow, N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div., Docket MER-L-1729-11 (Oct. 10, 2013). 
  34. ^ Hanna, Jason; Wang, Kevin (October 20, 2013). "Same-sex marriages can start Monday in New Jersey". CNN. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 
  35. ^ Ax, Joseph (October 18, 2013). "New Jersey top court rules gay marriages can begin on Monday". Reuters. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  36. ^ Zernike, Kate; Santora, Marc (October 21, 2013). "As Gays Wed in New Jersey, Christie Ends Court Fight". New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  37. ^ Office of the Attorney General: Formal Opinion No. 3-2007, February 16, 2007, accessed June 29, 2011
  38. ^ "Economic Benefits from Same-Sex Weddings in New Jersey". Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  39. ^ Sears, Brad; Ramos, Christopher; Badgett, M.V. Lee (December 2009). "The Impact of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples on the New Jersey Budget" (pdf).  
  40. ^ "Simultaneous Polls". Roanoke College. 
  41. ^ "New Jersey (NJ) Poll – July 10, 2013". 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  42. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  43. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  44. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  45. ^ "New Jersey (NJ) Poll - March 1, 2012 - New Jersey Same-Sex Marriage S | Quinnipiac University Connecticut". 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  46. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  47. ^ Martin Griff/The Times. "Poll: Majority of N.J. voters support gay marriage". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  48. ^ "Rutgers-Eagleton: 52% of NJ voters support same-sex marriage". Politicker NJ. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  49. ^ Thursday, September 1, 2011 (2011-09-01). "Majority of New Jerseyans Favors Gay Marriage but Shows More Support for Civil Unions as an Alternative, Rutgers Poll Finds | Media Relations". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  50. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  51. ^ "Department of Chemistry + Physical Sciences | Quinnipiac University Connecticut". Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  52. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  53. ^ 
  54. ^ "Poll: N.J. voters back marriage equality". Politicker NJ. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  55. ^ a b c 
  56. ^ "Same-Sex Marriage: Garden State’s Highest Court Approves Rights for Gay Couples - Rasmussen Reports™". 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  57. ^ a b Redlawsk, David (November 18, 2009). "Rutgers–Eagleton Poll Finds New Jerseyans Support Legalizing Gay Marriage" (PDF).  
  58. ^ "Same-Sex Marriage: Garden State’s Highest Court Approves Rights for Gay Couples". 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  59. ^ "Many Back Same-Sex Marriage In New Jersey". 
  60. ^ a b (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  61. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  62. ^ "New Jersey Same-Sex Marriage Support At New High, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Holding Referendum More Than 2–1". 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 


See also

New Jersey trends mirrored national trends, in that women, young people, Latinos, people with a college education,[60] and people who know gay men and lesbians were more supportive of same-sex marriage than men. The elderly, blacks, people without a college education, and those who do not know any gay men or lesbians were most opposed. However, same-sex marriage was not seen as an "important issue" by the latter groups, and the Eagleton Institute found that they were not likely to be source of opposition to the bill if it passed.[57] A 2012 poll found that in New Jersey, a majority of Democrats support same-sex marriage, a majority of Republicans are opposed, and a majority of Independents favor same-sex marriage.[62]

A July 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 81% of New Jersey voters supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 41% supporting same-sex marriage and 40% supporting civil unions, while only 17% opposed all legal recognition and 2% were not sure.[61]

Not all polling questions are the same. The 2009 Rutgers poll that found more support asks if voters will accept a decision by the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage,[57] while the 2006 Rasmussen Reports survey that found more opposed asks whether voters personally define marriage as a union of a man and a woman or between a union of two people.[58] A Zogby International poll conducted in April 2005 asked about same-sex couples married outside of the state. 57.5% felt the marriages should be recognized, 37.2% thought the State shouldn't recognize them, and 5.3% weren't sure.[59] New Jerseyans supported civil unions in 2006 before the passage of the Civil Unions Act, with 66% in favor and 29% opposed.[60]

Same-sex marriage in New Jersey
Polling Firm Month Link Favor Oppose
Rutgers-Eagleton March 2014 [40] 64 28
Quinnipiac July 2013 [41] 60 31
Rutgers-Eagleton June 2013 [42] 59 30
Quinnipiac March 2013 [43] 64 30
Public Policy Polling November 2012 [44] 53 36
Quinnipiac February 2012 [45] 57 37
Rutgers-Eagleton February 2012 [46] 54 35
Quinnipiac January 2012 [47] 52 42
Rutgers-Eagleton October 2011 [48] 52 39
Rutgers-Eagleton August 2011 [49] 52 32
Public Policy Polling July 2011 [50] 47 42
Quinnipiac November 2009 [51] 46 49
RutgersEagleton November 2009 [52] 50 42
Quinnipiac April 2009 [53] 49 43
Zogby International August 2008 [54] 50 42
Zogby International August 2007 [55] 48.1 44.6
Rasmussen Reports July 2006 [56] 42 54
Rutgers-Eagleton June 2006 PDF 49 44
Zogby International February 2006 [55] 56 39
Zogby International April 2005 HTML 54.5 40.1
Rutgers-Eagleton September 2003 PDF 43 50
Zogby International July 2003 [55] 55 41

Public opinion

A UCLA study estimates the potential economic impact of same-sex marriage on the State of New Jersey and concludes that the gain would be substantial. If New Jersey were to give same-sex couples the right to marry, that is marriage itself and not civil unions, the State would likely experience a surge in spending on weddings by same-sex couples who currently live in New Jersey, as well as an increase in wedding and tourist spending by same-sex couples from other states. The analysis outlined in detail in the report predicts that sales by New Jersey’s wedding and tourism-related businesses would rise by $102.5 million in each of the first three years when marriage for same-sex couples is legal.[38] As a result, the State’s gross receipt tax revenues would rise by $7.2 million per year, and 1,400 new jobs would be created in relevant industries.[39]

Economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples

New Jersey recognizes some same-sex relationships contracted out of state as either equivalent to and having the same legal force as New Jersey civil unions, where they "provide substantially all the rights and benefits of marriage", or as equivalent and having the same legal force as New Jersey domestic partnerships, where they "provide some but not all of the rights and obligations of marriage".[37]

Recognition of out-of-state relationships

Governor Chris Christie immediately stated that his administration would appeal the ruling.[32] On October 10, 2013, Judge Jacobson denied the state defendants' motion for a stay.[33] The state appealed the ruling and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal. The state also requested a stay of execution of the ruling, which the state Supreme Court denied on October 18 by a 7–0 decision of the court in which Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote that "the state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today."[34] The ruling also denied request for stay due to the fact that the court could "find no public interest in depriving a group of New Jersey residents of their constitutional right to equal protection while the appeals process unfolds."[35] Weddings were performed just after midnight on October 21, 2013, and Governor Christie dropped his administration's appeal of the lower court ruling that morning.[36]

On June 29, 2011, Lambda Legal filed suit in the Law Division of Superior Court in Mercer County on behalf Garden State Equality, seven same-sex couples, and several of their children, arguing that New Jersey's civil unions do not provide the same rights as marriage as required by the court's decision in Lewis, 188 N.J. 415; 908 A.2d 196 (2006).[29] On September 27, 2013, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry.[30][31]

Garden State Equality v. Dow

On July 26, 2010, the New Jersey Supreme Court declined a request on the part of the plaintiffs in Lewis v. Harris that it review whether the legislature had complied with the court's order in that case. It said it wanted the challenge to begin in a lower court where a trial record could be developed. Lewis, 202 N.J. 340 (2010).[28]


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