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Gay Rights Advocates Sue to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage in New Jersey

Posted Jun 29, 2011 1:53 PM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Less than a week after New York approved same-sex marriage, gay rights advocates filed suit for the same right in New Jersey.

The suit, brought by Garden State Equality, is joined by seven gay couples and several of their children.

Garden State Equality Chairman Steven Goldstein called the state's civil union law a "wall dividing the moral fabric of state."

"New Jersey: Tear down that wall," Goldstein told NJ.com.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that same-sex couples should be guaranteed the same rights as heterosexual married couples but left it to the state legislature to figure out how to achieve that. The legislature chose civil unions, which come with the same rights.

But plaintiffs contend that the legal rights of civil unions are equal in theory only, citing cases in which gay spouses have been denied the right to make medical decisions on behalf of incapacitated partners.

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage is pending in the state assembly, but a similar bill was defeated last year in the state Senate. And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has vowed to veto any same-sex marriage bill that comes across his desk.

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