Marriage Equality Case Advances In New Jersey

A New Jersey judge has ruled a lawsuit challenging the state’s civil unions can proceed, but noted that the state does not guarantee a fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry. The lawsuit, filed by seven same-sex couples, argues that civil unions do not provide equal protection under the law. In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in Lewis v. Harris that “every statutory right and benefit conferred to heterosexual couples through civil marriage must be made available to committed same-sex couples.” The New Jersey legislature responded to the decision by legalizing civil unions, but a 2008 review commission found that “the separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children.”