Lawsuit: New Jersey civil unions do not provide adequate protections for same-sex couples
Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on Wednesday on behalf of seven same-sex couples and their children alleging that New Jersey’s civil unions law does not satisfy a 2006 New Jersey Supreme Court decision that found same-sex couples should be equal under the state’s marriage laws.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the state government had to provide same-sex couples with equal rights under the state’s constitution, and lawmakers passed a civil unions bill that attempted to provide a system of separate but equal.
Lambda Legal and seven New Jersey couples filed suit on Wednesday saying that the civil unions law does not provide equal protection under the state of federal constitutions.
“The constitutional guarantee of equality under the law does not stop midway through the Lincoln Tunnel,” said Lambda’s deputy legal director Hayley Gorenberg, in a press statement announcing the lawsuit. “Our clients have been kept from each other during medical crises, denied health insurance, and even discriminated against in funeral homes because their civil unions relegate them to second-class status. New Jersey’s same-sex couples have been stuck in a limbo caused by the confusion and indignity of living with an inferior status.”
Among the plaintiffs are a couple who encountered difficulties at a New Jersey hospital after one was seriously injured in a car accident.
Daniel Weiss and John Grant, both 46, of Asbury Park, explained in a video interview about how their New Jersey civil union was not adequate protection in an emergency:
The lawsuit comes just days after neighboring New York state lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage.
For more on civil unions in New Jersey, read The Colorado Independent.