New Jersey is somewhat ahead of the game compared to some other states with regards to providing same-sex couples’ rights. We may not have legalized same-sex marriage in the state, but civil unions are legal and have provided many couples the opportunity to formalize their relationships in some manner.
One same-sex couple chose to enter into a civil union in New Jersey back in 2007. The couple went through a planning process that’s similar to any wedding planning process. They found a location that they liked and attempted to book it. But that didn’t happen, and a legal consequence ensued.
According to Reuters, the women wanted to have their civil union ceremony at a public boardwalk pavilion at a location called Oceans Grove. The location is there for the public but also owned by a religious organization. That is where the dilemma stemmed from for the same-sex couple.
The organization didn’t allow the couple to hold the ceremony at the pavilion. That decision, however, was faced with legal action. The couple sued, with support from the ACLU, and a judge recently ruled in their favor.
He agreed that the organization could not discriminate against the couple, even though its religious beliefs don’t support same-sex unions. While the organization might own the location, it is supported by taxes, ultimately making it open to the public and, therefore, a discrimination-free zone.
Reuters: “Group discriminated in same sex civil union, judge says,” Jennifer Golson, Jan. 13, 2012