Post-DOMA Action in New Jersey

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July 3, 2013

One week after the Supreme Court's historic decision to strike down Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Lambda Legal filed a motion for summary judgment in New Jersey Superior Court on behalf of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT advocacy organization, and six same-sex couples who need the freedom to marry.

"Now that DOMA is gone, New Jersey is, as a matter of law, in direct violation of the New Jersey Supreme Court order we won in 2006 that requires equality for same-sex couples, and in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the federal Constitution," said Hayley Gorenberg, Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director. "New Jersey’s discrimination is all that bars same-sex couples from the full array of federal protections for their families."

"The Supreme Court of the United States has spoken, and it is clear that the time for marriage equality is now. The debate is over, the facts are in, civil unions are not and never will be equal to marriage," said Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. "Today Lambda Legal will file a brief on our behalf seeking relief through the courts to prevent further discrimination from taking place in New Jersey and to open access to all federal rights and protections that marriage affords."

"Eleven years ago, when we asked Lambda Legal to work on our behalf, we were prepared for a long, hard road and believe it will lead to the freedom to marry. The Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA was historic for the nation but out of reach for us here in New Jersey," said Cindy Meneghin, plaintiff in the lawsuit along with her high school sweetheart, Maureen Kilian, and their two children.

In June 2011, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry, arguing that barring same-sex couples from marriage and relegating them to civil union violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution. In light of last week’s Supreme Court ruling striking Section 3 of DOMA, today Lambda Legal filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, arguing that by barring marriage, the state of New Jersey denies same-sex couples the full range of federal benefits, rights, and protections available under the Windsor decision. This denial explicitly conflicts with the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in 2006 that says that same-sex couples should have the same rights and benefits as their different-sex counterparts.

Meet all the plaintiffs and their families

Learn more about Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow et al

Read the press release