Garden State Equality, et al. v. Dow, et al.
After nearly a decade fighting for marriage equality in New Jersey, Lambda Legal is back in court representing six same-sex couples and their children harmed from the unequal civil union system, and Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization.
The case combines both state and federal claims. It argues that the civil union law violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution.
Civil unions place same-sex couples and their children in an inferior status to different-sex couples and their children. Without full marriage equality, same-sex couples are denied workplace benefits and protections equal to those accorded to married people, and they are blocked from seeing their loved ones during medical emergencies. This exclusion deprives them of certainty in their legal rights and status, and often increases financial burdens.
- June 2011 Lambda Legal files suit in New Jersey Superior Court.
- November 2011 Lambda Legal defeats defendants' attempt to dismiss the case. Judge rules from the bench that our plaintiffs may proceed.
- February 2012 Court reinstates federal equal protection claim.
- July 2013 Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, Lambda Legal files a motion for summary judgment in New Jersey Superior Court.
- September 2013 Victory! New Jersey Superior Court rules in favor of marriage equality.
- October 2013 New Jersey files a motion seeking a delay in marriages for same-sex couples. Lambda Legal files a brief opposing the State’s motion.
GARDEN STATE EQUALITY; DANIEL WEISS and JOHN GRANT; MARSHA SHAPIRO and LOUISE WALPIN; MAUREEN KILIAN and CINDY MENEGHIN; SARAH KILIAN-MENEGHIN, a minor, by and through her guardians; ERICA and TEVONDA BRADSHAW; and TEVERICO BARACK HAYES BRADSHAW, a minor, by and through his guardians; MARCYE and KAREN NICHOLSON-McFADDEN; KASEY NICHOLSON-McFADDEN, a minor, by and through his guardians; MAYA NICHOLSON-McFADDEN, a minor, by and through her guardians; THOMAS DAVIDSON and KEITH HEIMANN; MARIE HEIMANN DAVIDSON, a minor, by and through her guardians; GRACE HEIMANN DAVIDSON, a minor, by and through her guardians.
(See all below).
Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director
Lawrence S. Lustberg and Eileen Conner of Gibbons, PC.