TRENTON – Advocates for marriage equality argued in court papers filed Friday that same-sex proponents are being denied equal protection under the law.
Further, argues Garden State Equality, their equal protection should not be postponed until some future undetermined date when marriage laws are no longer in “flux.’’
The organization that went to court to argue for gay marriage rights after the Supreme Court earlier this year overturned a previous law filed its response today to a legal brief filed by the state last week.
Oral arguments on the case are scheduled for next Thursday before Judge Mary Jacobson in Trenton.
In their arguments presented Friday, the supporters of gay marriage rights argued that although several years ago the Legislature tried to meet a constitutional mandate for equal protection, it is clear in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that more must be done, and that otherwise gay couples are being denied that equal protection.
Garden State Equality argues that its clients cannot be forced to wait for some day in the future when their federal marital benefit rights will be granted by the federal government.
“This inequality, which begins in New Jersey and results in the unequal dispensation of benefits to same-sex couples in this state, should be tolerated no longer,’’ Garden State Equality argues.
The state through the Attorney General’s office has argued that the court cannot extend the state’s jurisdictional reach.
In part, the AG’s office stated that “The New Jersey Supreme Court has already conducted an equal protection balancing act and determined that a parallel statute that provides same-sex couples with all of the same rights and benefits that married couples enjoy under the state’s law is constitutionally permissible, and therefore, rationally based.”