Judge: State must allow gay couples to marry

N.J. high court magistrate says state denies same-sex couples rights.
Associated Press
Sep 28, 2013


New Jersey is unconstitutionally denying federal benefits to gay couples and must allow them to marry, a judge ruled Friday.

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson sided almost entirely with a group of same-sex couples and gay rights groups who sued the state in July days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of a law that blocked the federal government from granting benefits to gay couples.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican in the midst of a re-election campaign and a possible presidential contender, said through a spokesman Friday he plans to appeal the decision, which he believes should be determined by a popular vote rather than a court.

The judge made the ruling effective Oct. 21, giving Christie time to appeal and likely ask a court to delay implementation of her order.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said the governor "has always maintained that he would abide by the will of the voters on the issue of marriage equality and called for it to be on the ballot this Election Day."

"Since the legislature refused to allow the people to decide expeditiously," he said in a statement, "we will let the Supreme Court make this constitutional determination."

Christie refused to take questions about the ruling after attending a college groundbreaking ceremony near Trenton.

New Jersey allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions that give them some of the same legal protections as married couples, but the judge said the two labels — marriage for opposite-sex couples and civil unions for same-sex couples — exclude gay couples "from certain federal benefits that legally married same-sex couples are able to enjoy."

Same-sex couples who include a federal employee, those who want to use the federal Family Medical Leave Act or those who file joint federal tax returns are being hurt by the state's recognition of civil unions but not gay marriage, she wrote.

Lambda Legal lawyer Hayley Gorenberg, who prepared the lawsuit, said the judge "has issued a very thorough and powerful opinion that shows the correctness under the constitution of our claims."

"It shows the deep error the state's been making in refusing to let people marry on an equal basis," Gorenberg said.

One of the plaintiffs, Marcye Nicholson-McFadden, said she and her partner of 24 years, Karen Nicholson-McFadden, were trying to absorb the news.

"I want to shout from the rooftops, but I just have to keep myself in check," said Marcye Nicholson-McFadden, of Aberdeen, as she braced for the expected appeal.

Gay-marriage supporters planned to rally Friday night in Montclair to celebrate the ruling.

Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, one of the state's more visible social conservative groups, criticized the ruling.

"For our state, essentially, this is judicial activism again, one judge implementing same-sex marriage on New Jersey," he said.

Thirteen states recognize same-sex marriage, including the entire Northeast except for Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

It's been a major political and legal issue in New Jersey for more than a decade.

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 2006 that same sex-couples had the right to the same legal protections as married couples, but a 4-3 majority ruled that the state didn't have to go as far as calling those benefits marriage. Lawmakers responded by quickly creating civil unions.

In 2011, six couples and children of several of them asked the courts to find that the civil union law wasn't fulfilling its intention because it created a separate classification for gay couples. The state Supreme Court sent the issue to a lower court.

But the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June on the Defense of Marriage Act changed the argument, and the couples asked anew for speedy relief.

Federal agencies have rolled out a variety of policies on whether they will recognize marriages of any gay couples or only those in states that recognize their vows.

The Christie administration argued that it's the federal government's patchwork of policies that's keeping lesbian and gay couples in New Jersey from having the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

Even if Friday's summary judgment is ultimately rejected, the broader case would remain, though it likely would take several months before a trial could be held.

The question of gay marriage is also in the Legislature. In 2012, lawmakers passed a law to allow gay marriage, but Christie vetoed it.

On Friday, Democratic lawmakers called on Christie not to appeal the ruling.

"It is also a stark reminder that Governor Christie stands on the wrong side of history," said state Sen. Barbara Buono, who's running for governor and has an openly gay daughter. "At every turn, he has prevented our gay brothers and sisters from enjoying the same rights as other New Jerseyans."


Follow Mulvihill at http://www.twitter.com/geoffmulv...


Associated Press writer Katie Zezima in Newark, N.J., and Angela Delli Santi in Ewing, N.J., contributed to this report.



Pterocarya frax...

3....2....1....thinkagain hate time begins.

thinkagain's picture

Thanks for the intro bro!

Pterocarya frax...

It is my distinct pleasure to be the setup gal for the cheap entertainment!


Lol! Yup, my first thought too. Thinkagain the bigot will be right on this like white on rice.

thinkagain's picture

Words like intolerant, judgmental, hater and homophobic are deceptive terms, falsely used by pro-homosexual activists, to incorrectly define all opposition to sodomy being introduced to children as an acceptable lifestyle.

The accurate description of true hate is defined in John 15:18, Jesus said that they hated Him, and they will hate us too if we follow Him.

God condemns homosexuality. The liberal courts are turning away from the Christian foundation of our government. It's time for born-again Christians to stand for the One who saved them. It is not time to acquiesce, it's time to stand. Prepare yourselves for the spiritual battle that is here and is coming.

There are no 'pride' parades for liars, thieves, murderers or adulterers and for good reason.

Their usage of the word gay is simply a social construct to try to mask their sin. There is nothing gay about sin, nor is sin anything of which to be proud.

“Gay” is a misnomer, call it what it is…homosexual. Or you could substitute the word “abomination”.


ThinkAgain: Words like intolerant, judgemental, hater and homophobic are used because those ARE accurate ways to describe anti-gay people. Being gay is not a sin, and it’s not a choice, any more than it was a choice for you and me to be heterosexual. Jesus absolutely would not have persecuted gays, and he absolutely would not have used Scripture to justify discrimination of the kind you advocate as you do.
Furthermore, American government does not have a Christian foundation. Our Founding Fathers (many of whom were atheist or agnostic) went to great pains to keep religion and government separate.

The same Neanderthal mindset ThinkAgain advocates was used to justify racism in the 1950’s and 60’s. It’s time for Christians and non-Christians to stand up to the Religious Right. They are welcome to have whatever religious views they like, but need to stop using religion in an attempt to control other people’s lives.

JudgeMeNot's picture

So by your reasoning coasterflem, being anti-gay is a bad thing? Oh my, your suffering will be legendary, even in hell!


such a complete example of stupidity and lack of historical view or the basic lies of thhttp://www.adherents.com/gov/Fou... left.
the separation of church and state was the instigating of a national church like the Church of England.


thinkagain....how about Luke 6:37


And I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN.....others can quote the bible too. I have studied and read just about every religion.....NONE of them make any sense to ME. But I also do not try to push MY personal views on anyone else. That is the joy of living in AMERICA. YOUR god is not MY god. You can use the bible to say just about anything YOU want. It can be interpreted to say just about anything you want. INTERPRETED. Just depends on WHO is reading it. WHO translates it. Take your GOD and your readings and quotes and sit on them.


Amen,thinkagain! You have at least one person who agrees with you!

thinkagain's picture


Pterocarya frax...

To claim our government has a "Christian foundation" is absurd. To quote our founding fathers:

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."....James Madison

"The Christian god is a three headed monster, cruel, vengeful, and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites."....Thomas Jefferson

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"....1st Amendment

thinkagain's picture

I keep hearing the atheistic Left cry, “separation of church and state”. Sorry, I can’t seem to find that anywhere in the Constitution. The people did not want freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion.

Many of our laws are based on standards of morality found in the Bible. Should we remove them from law because the church should be separated from the state?

This country was established upon the assumption that religion was essential to good government.

To say biblical principles should not be allowed in government is to either be ignorant of the historic intent of the founding fathers, or in your case, blatantly bigoted against Christianity.


You can not read the minds of the founding fathers, and they publicly and privately contradicted themselves, and and they they frequently disagreed with one another. No alleged intent in their minds can be nor should be relied upon. The only "intent" that carries any legal weight or rational basis, is the meaning of the words on paper, at the time they were written.

"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." -- Thomas Jefferson


Such a dillusional lady, two quotes from two of two hundred people does not make religion bashing a national pastime!!!!!


What a creepy little person you are.


ThinkA IS creepy, but the sad part is that he doesn't realize just how hateful he is. Isn't it odd that Christian folks sometimes act less Christian-like than everyone else?

JudgeMeNot's picture

It is amazing to me that pro-Gay rights people fail to see their own closed-mindedness. They and other gays expect us to reject God and our belief system so that we can give homos a free pass.


I am not pro-gay or pro-god. I am for not shoving someone else's beliefs downs someone else's throat. That is the joy of living in America. What someone does or doesn't do is NOT your problem. It does not affect you or anyone else. Do not worry about what goes on in my bed room and I will not worry about what goes on in yours. Do worry about who I do or do not pray to. Simple as that. If everyone worried about what was going on in their own homes a little more and the neighbor's a little less maybe everyone could get along better.


Nobody is asking you to reject YOUR god or YOUR beliefs. That's something you've made up in your own mind. All that's being ASKED is that same sex couples be given the same treatment and benefits given to every other American. Exactly what free pass are you talking about?


We still go by the constitution in this country, not someone's religious beliefs. I hope you saw former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara attending the wedding of their same sex female friends a few days ago. President Bush was an official witness and signed their marriage certificate. Whether you or I agree with it or not is not revelant. It is their choice.

JudgeMeNot's picture

Freedom of expression and beliefs is a very powerful tool that can be abused in certain circumstances. That doesn't mean we should accept gay marriage.

The Answer Person

Your Daddy liked it.


ladydye_5 said:

"I am for not shoving someone else's beliefs downs someone else's throat."

But, isn't that EXACTLY what the pro-gay people are trying to do?




For the record, I am not pro anything. I could care less who you sleep with. It does not affect me or my marriage.


.....as long as HE is not sleeping with your hubby! lol!


If HE is.....that would be a bigger can of worms. After 20 years my husband has never strayed, not something I am worried about.


Relax!!!!!! No need to go all ladydye on me! Just having a lil' fun!


Thinkagain....I agree with you! However, everyone seems to be missing the point. I hear how GREAT this country is....well, it looks like the America that we all LOVE is changing!! Since when does a "judge" have a right to change the will of the people? You say you don't want our religion shoved down your throat...what do you think is going on? I may not agree with gay marriage because of my beliefs but if the majority of people voted to ok it...I would have to accept that....but not a judge!! Be careful....it may not stop there....all of our rights are being jeopardized by a government who wants to take the control away from us and do what THEY please!! None of us should be ok with that!!


IMO, it's a states rights issue. Let the respective populace decide.

The "legislating from the bench" is BS.


Why pick on the Christians? Muslims are also against it, but any inflammatory speech against them isn't PC.

Gotta squeeze that religious intolerance through the 'proper' Progressive mental strainer.

thinkagain's picture

Islam is the religion of PEACE and they'll behead anyone who disagrees.

- Treatment of Women - Qur'an (4:34), (38:44), (2:223), Bukhari (48:826)

- Kill the Homosexuals - Qur'an (4:16), (7:80-84), Abu Dawud (4448)

- Kill the Adulterers - Bukhari (52:260), (84:57), Muslim (17:4196)

- Kill the Unbelievers - Qur'an (8:12), (48:29), (5:33), (22:19)

- Kill for God - Qur'an (4:74), (2:207)

- Can't criticize Islam - Qur'an (33:57), (33:61)

- Non-Muslims go to hell - Qur'an (3:85)

Dr. Information

Only the liberals will point the finger and say your beliefs are wrong and then back up that statement with the word tolerance.

Tolerance is a two way street. I'll believe what I want to believe and you can believe what you want to believe.

thinkagain's picture

Christians, don’t let the mocking blasphemy of the wicked trouble you. They will find themselves without an excuse before God.


Why do you assume that those who disagree with you are not christians?


A#1 hypocrite.


Thinkagain has valid points. Ask any trooper that's been in Afghanistan. The sexual abuse of young boys there is wrong. Not to mention Muslim's won't TOLERATE any different opinion (s) regarding religion.

Ned Mandingo

Only a idiot would judge someone else because a imaginary man in the sky said its bad. Even the head pedophile at the Vatican said they shouldn't judge gays anymore.