Forget New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s gay marriage veto: A New Jersey judge in the Mercer County Superior Court has ruled that gay marriage in the state is legal, and anyone who wants one can come get it October 21.
On behalf of six same-sex families (and their kids) asking for summary judgment in their favor, the court ruled that New Jersey’s civil unions did not provide equal treatment for same-sex couples as the law did for heterosexual married ones. The opinion cited the high-profile United States v. Windsor case as a critical precedent for the decision.
“The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts: civil union partners who are federal employees living in New jersey are ineligible for marital rights with regard to the federal pension system, all civil union partners who are employees working for businesses to which the Family and Medical Leave Act applies may not rely on its statutory protections for spouses, and civil union couples may not access the federal tax benefits that married couples enjoy,” Judge Mary Jacobson wrote in the court opinion. “Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”