Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Jersey Supreme Court Grants Direct Review of Gay Marriage Case

The New Jersey Supreme Court has granted direct review of Garden State Equality v. Dow - a request made by both plaintiffs and the administration of Governor Chris Christie.  Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson last month ordered the state to begin granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting October 21.  Jacobson denied the state's motion for a stay but the Supreme Court has now taken jurisdiction of that issue too.  The high court issued an expedited briefing schedule and set January 6 - 7 for oral argument.  The New Jersey Law Journal Editorial Board has urged a quick decision so that same-sex couples could take advantage of federal tax laws by marrying before year-end.  But a stay pending the final ruling appears inevitable in light of the court's schedule.  The marriage equality case will present the first hot-button issue before the court with Fausto Fernandez, Christie's second successful nominee on the top court's bench.
The case moved to the top of the docket because the high court's command that civil union must be the equal of marriage appears impossible to achieve since Windsor v. U.S. extends equal protection to married couples, not to those in civil unions.  - GWC

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