Friday, September 27, 2013

Did New Jersey Just Get Marriage Equality?

From ABC News:   

New Jersey must allow gay couples to marry starting Oct. 21, because the state's civil union law is unconstitutionally denying federal benefits to same-sex couples, 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.

"The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts," Jacobson wrote in a 53-page opinion. 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.

By making her order effective more than three weeks from now, the state has time to appeal to a higher court and ask for a delay to the start of same-sex marriage.

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