Garden State Equality, Lambda Legal file suit over NJ’s civil unions, which don’t give equal rights

Last weekend on the Meet the Press, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie boasted about his anti-gay views:

I am not a fan of same-sex marriage. It’s not something that I support. I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. That’s my view, and that’ll be the view of our state because I wouldn’t sign a bill that–like the one that was in New York.

Whatever. Chris Christie might never even be part of the process. Advocates are going back to court:

The suit is led by Garden State Equality and joined by seven gay couples and several of their children.

Their main argument is that the state Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that same sex couples should be guaranteed the same rights as heterosexual married couples, but in a 4-3 vote left it up to the Legislature how to achieve that. The minority in that decision said the state needed to allow marriage for same-sex couples.

The Legislature chose civil unions instead, which come with the exact same legal rights.

But plaintiffs said the legal rights are only equal only in theory. They offered stories about trying to visit their partners in hospitals or make medical decisions for them, but being initially denied by staff who did not understand what a civil union was.

More from Blue Jersey:

Flanked on the podium by same-sex couples and their children, Steve Goldstein, President of Garden State Equality, today spoke about “The Civil Union wall tearing at New Jersey’s moral fabric.” He said, “Its time to tear down that wall and end the stigma.” Civil Unions have not been fixed, as some politicians promised over a year ago, and cannot be fixed as they create a separate and unequal status which invites others to discriminate.

In 2010 the N. J. Supreme Court decided not to intercede in Lambda’s case which called for the court to end Civil Unions and insure compliance with its originally mandated equality. Instead the court required further proceedings in a Superior Court. Today Haley Gorenberg of Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in the Mercer County Court arguing that the Civil Union Law violates both the NJ Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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