The New Jersey Superior Court on Oct. 10 denied the state’s motion to stay a Sept. 27 ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry.
Same-sex couples could marry as early as Oct. 21, unless there is a stay granted on an appeal by the state.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT civil rights group, and six same-sex couples who want to marry.
The court, on Oct. 10, said, the state, in its request for a stay, “ignores the largely abstract nature of the harm it alleges, which pales in comparison to the concrete harm caused to Plaintiffs by their current ineligibility for many federal marital benefits, and the significant litigation burden they would have to shoulder to challenge federal denial of marital benefits to civil union couples.”
Lambda Legal deputy director Hayley Gorenberg said, “This is wonderful news. The court’s decision once again confirms that the hardships of not being able to marry are real and immediate. Every day does count. Allowing same-sex couples to marry helps many New Jersey families and hurts no one else.”
At Garden State Equality, executive director Troy Stevenson said, “Momentum is with us. All couples in New Jersey need the dignity of marriage, and they need it now. We look forward to seeing many of them, who have been denied that dignity for too long, marry in the coming weeks.”
The Lambda lawsuit dates to June 2011 and argues that barring same-sex couples from marriage and relegating them to civil union violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Lambda filed a motion for summary judgment in the New Jersey case, arguing that by barring marriage, the state is denying same-sex couples the full range of federal benefits, rights and protections of marriage.
On Sept. 27, the New Jersey Superior Court ruled that same-sex couples in New Jersey must be allowed to marry.