The four-year-old case involves seven same-sex couples who have been partners for up to 35 years. They sued for the right to marry. Five of the couples has children and their suit requests equal protections available for couples and their children under marriage.
The state appellate court ruled against them in June 2005 by two to one, but because of dissenting opinions, the case went to the state Supreme Court to resolve the issue. New Jersey is one of only five states without a law or constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.
Background: What, you say you want background while you are awaiting the analysis? Lambda Legal has it in bite sizes and enough documentation to choke a whale, if it had a neck. Check the Lewis v. Harris page here.
Pro and anti-SSM forces have pledged legislative fights if they disagree with today's outcome. As reported by the Bergan Record:
- Pro: Steven Goldstein, head of New Jersey's leading gay-rights group, Garden State Equality, said, "If we win the case, we continue to fight in the courts of political and public opinion to protect the decision from a state constitutional ban on marriage equality, and if we lose the decision, we immediately pivot toward passing marriage equality legislation."
- Anti: John Tomicki, executive director of the N.J.-based League of American Families said, "If the Supreme Court upholds the lower court, it will obviously be a good, and constitutional, vote, but if the majority of the court overturns both lower court decisions, then we will encourage the immediate hearing and passage of the constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man/one woman -- already filed by Sen. Cardinale -- so that the public can express its will about the definition of marriage."
Tags: massmarrier, New Jersey, Supreme Court, same-sex marriage, Lewis v. Harris