Yesterday Lambda Legal filed suit in the New Jersey Supreme Court arguing that the state had failed to comply with a 2006 ruling from the Court requiring that gay couples be treated the same as straight couples.
“We come back to the court to turn equal rights on paper to equal rights in the real,” said Hayley Gorenberg, Lambda Legal’s deputy legal director. “We’re asking the court to enforce its order – to give equality, which must be marriage.” The return to the Supreme Court is the latest step in a legal fight that opened in 2002 when seven gay and lesbian couples sued the state for the right to marry. The motion came two months after the state Senate rejected a bill to allow same-sex marriage. Some who oppose same-sex marriage say the issue should be decided in a public vote, not the courts. “The people should be able to decide the definition of marriage,” said John Tomicki, president of the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage. He said a ruling allowing same-sex marriage could open the door to polygamy or marriages with minors. Gorenberg said the case dealt only with marriage between two adults.
In 2006 New Jersey legalized civil unions, which a state commission later conclusively established was inadequate and unequal.