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Marriage in New Jersey: Back to Court


In the wake of the New Jersey Senate’s defeat of a bill to create gay marriage yesterday, the Lambda Legal Defense Fund is saying it will return to court to get a judicial redefinition. In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the legislature had to offer the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples, but stopped short of ordering marriage licenses.

Lambda’s theory is that the court ordered full “equality” in legal treatment and that this can only mean redefining marriage. They rely on the absurdly biased report of the New Jersey Civil Unions Review Commission as “evidence” that unless marriage is redefined, the court’s earlier order has not been complied with.

Interestingly, the court opinion itself (note 18) recognized at least one relevant difference between same-sex and married couples: “Every statutory provision applicable to opposite-sex couples might not be symmetrically applicable to same-sex couples. The presumption of parentage would apply differently for same-sex partners inasmuch as both partners could not be the biological parents of the child.”

Lambda’s message is clear — same-sex marriage by any means necessary.