New Jersey Judge Rules for the Freedom to Marry

New Jersey Judge Mary Jacobson of the Mercer County Superior Court ruled today that LGBT couples can marry in the Garden State starting October 21. If the ruling stands, New Jersey will become the 14th state with the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

“This is a significant victory for same sex couples in New Jersey. The state’s motto is ‘Liberty and Prosperity’. Now lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples will get the chance to experience the ideas behind the motto through the freedom to marry. We applaud Garden State Equality, New Jersey United for Marriage, ACLU and Lambda Legal on today’s victory. We’ll celebrate today, and tomorrow we will continue the hard work of changing legislator’s hearts and minds until the freedom to marry is guaranteed for all New Jerseyans.” Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Lesbian and Gay Task Force.

The case was brought by Garden State Equality, and follows the Supreme Court decision in Windsor, and the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Lewis.  In Lewis, the NJSC ruled that same sex couples were entitled to the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex couples, but the Court punted to the legislature on the question of whether a Constitutional right to marriage existed for same-sex couples. Today’s decision, by a state trial court, states that same-sex couples do have that Constitutional right under both federal and New Jersey law on the grounds of equal protection.