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New Jersey Judge Declares Civil Unions are Not Equal to Marriage

Authored By: Jordan Trager, Esq.

New Jersey’s civil union law, which was meant to grant same-sex couples equal rights, was recently struck down by a New Jersey state court judge following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Instead, the court directed state authorities to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In its ruling, the Court argued that civil unions unfairly deprive same-sex couples of federal benefits available to married couples in other states and, therefore, the civil union law does not go far enough toward the New Jersey state constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment under state law.

This case marks yet another shift toward recognition that legal prohibitions against same-sex marriage are contrary to the protections and rights guaranteed to all Americans to be treated fairly and equally under the law.