By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.
New Jersey Business and Personal Law Attorney
Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont
Last week New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson's historic ruling sent shockwaves throughout the state. The Judge ordered the state to begin permitting same-sex marriages on October 21, 2013. This is the first time that a New Jersey judge has ruled, or even stated while on the bench, that same-sex couples should have the right to marry.
The ruling came about after the Judge granted the hearing of an emergency petition brought by six gay couples and their children. The couples were seeking relief from the state's civil union laws, which they argued prevented them from availing themselves of over 1,000 federal tax benefits and legal protections.
In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples must receive all the rights and benefits afforded to heterosexual couples, but left the details up to the state Legislature. Lawmakers decided to create civil unions instead of permitting marriage which, according to gay rights activists, prevented same-sex couples from having the same rights as married couples.
Judge Jacobson reasoned that the civil union designation afforded to gay couples violated the state's constitution and thus, ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry.
While the ruling was celebrated by many, including gay rights activists, Governor Christie, who is opposed to gay marriage said that his administration will appeal the decision. The appeal will likely delay the October 21st date set by the Judge.
The Judge's ruling has set the stage for the final battle concerning gay marriage which will play out in the near future.
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