TRENTON – A state appeals court has handed a victory to same-sex marriage advocates today.
Plaintiffs led by Garden State Equality won a ruling for reconsideration of an earlier ruling.
Today’s decision comes after Gov. Christie issued a conditional veto of the Marriage Equality law that the Legislature passed last week.
The case originated with a lawsuit filed by same sex couples who argued the state, by not issuing a marriage license, was denying them statutory protections that others enjoy.
In 2003, the court ruled in the state’s favor.
However the state eventually enacted a civil union act, which opponents have said does not afford the full protection of Marriage Equality.
The plaintiffs went to court last summer to force the state to afford equal protection under the law.
The court stated that today, denial of such rights is “repugnant.’’
The court today stated that “We are now at a point in history where same-sex couples face similar challenges. Courts are now presented with a new type ofclassification, namely, sexual orientation.
“Clearly, the denial of the title of marriage to same-sex couples’ relationships has been likened by courts and scholars to other forms ofdiscrimination once considered to be appropriate.”
Further, the court ruled that “plaintiffs assert the Civil Union Act violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by denying them access to marriage and relegating them to a separate and arguably second class status, while not serving any legitimate state interest.”
The court ruled that trial on some of the plaintiffs’ issues can proceed.