Judge Orders New Jersey To Start Letting Gays Marry

Gay WeddingThe Associated PressCynthia Wides, right, and Elizabeth Carey file for a marriage certificate at City Hall in San Francisco, Saturday, June 29, 2013.

A New Jersey judge ruled Friday gay couples can start
getting married in that state on Oct. 21, Paige Lavender of the Huffington Post reports.

“This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy equal protection guarantees of the New Jersey Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis,” Judge Mary Jacobson wrote in a 53-page opinion.

The New Jersey state legislature previously legalized gay marriage in the state, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill.

A key part of the ruling relates to the Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down the Defence of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to same-sex married couples. New Jersey lets gays have civil unions, which Jacobson said are not equal to marriage in a post-DOMA world.

In the wake of the decision, the judge ruled, “plaintiffs have shown that civil union partners in New Jersey are being denied equal access to federal benefits, thus requiring that the right to marry be extended to same-sex couples under the equal protection guarantee of the New Jersey Constitution.”

This story is developing.

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