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Same-Sex Marriage Legislation in NJ

Same-Sex Marriage Legislation in NJ

Four days after Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed legislation that would have allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry in New Jersey, Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg reversed her November 2011 ruling and reinstated a count in a lawsuit filed by seven same-sex couples. The Judge ruled the same-sex couples could argue that the state’s 2006 law allowing civil unions violates the U.S. Constitution. The claim is that denial of their right to marry results in denial of equal protection under the NJ Constitution as well as equal protection and due process under the US Constitution. These seven couples will have the opportunity to argue on behalf of marriage equality in New Jersey rather than alternative programs such as Civil Unions which offer limited rights and are not recognized outside the State of New Jersey. Governor Christie’s proposal involved an ombudsman appointed to increase awareness of the rights of same-sex couples under the Civil Union law. The Governor’s rationale for the appointment is his belief that rights are available to same-sex couples under the Civil Union law but same-sex couples may not be aware of the full rights offered.
Proponents of gay rights contend that civil unions create a separate and unequal class, subject to further discrimination. Governor Christie prefers a popular vote to allow the citizens of New Jersey to decide whether marriage shall continue, in NJ, to be defined as being between a man and a woman. Thus far 7 states officially recognize same-sex marriage.
For more information on protecting your rights as a member of a same-sex couple in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.

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