We have written about civil unions on this blog in the past, as the matter is nagging at many people throughout New Jersey. Civil unions allow same-sex couples to formalize their unions, but some in the state argue that the unions are not enough to provide same-sex couples the equal rights that they believe they deserve under the law.
A proposal was introduced in New Jersey this year that sought to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. It was met with legislative approval, up until it met Gov. Chris Christie recently. He vetoed the bill, leaving advocates for same-sex marriage frustrated but not willing to give up their fight.
A group of same-sex couples, along with a gay rights group called Garden State Equality, filed a lawsuit last June, essentially arguing that not allowing gay couples to enter into marriage by offering them only civil unions instead denies them equal protection as promised under the state and federal constitutions.
This week, a Superior Court judge decided that the plaintiffs’ claim that New Jersey’s civil union laws violated the U.S. Constitution could move forward. This ruling gives gay rights advocates some renewed hope, despite Christie’s recent veto, that they might have a chance at bringing what they believe are laws based on equality to New Jersey.
We will continue to follow this debated matter and post an update on this blog when there are new developments. Currently, same-sex couples are only allowed the right to civil unions. If you have any questions about that process and the rights a civil union provides, contact a family law attorney in your town with experience in that area.
The Star-Ledger: “Reversing course, judge reinstates count in N.J. gay marriage lawsuit,” MaryAnn Spoto, Feb. 22, 2012