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Case Name Garden State Equality v. Dow PB-NJ-0006
Docket / Court MER-L-1729-11 ( State Court )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
On June 29, 2011, an organization advocating for LGBT rights in New Jersey, along with twelve same-sex couples and their children, filed a lawsuit in the Mercer County Superior Court of New Jersey under the equal protection clauses of the New Jersey and U.S. Constitutions.

The ... read more >
On June 29, 2011, an organization advocating for LGBT rights in New Jersey, along with twelve same-sex couples and their children, filed a lawsuit in the Mercer County Superior Court of New Jersey under the equal protection clauses of the New Jersey and U.S. Constitutions.

The plaintiffs asked the court for a declaration that same-sex couples' exclusion from the institution of marriage violated their constitutional rights. Plaintiffs also sought an injunction preventing the state from (1) denying them access to civil marriage, (2) maintaining the unequal legal status of "civil union" solely for same-sex couples, and (3) refusing to recognize same-sex marriages legally obtained in other jurisdictions. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the denial of the legal status of "marriage" and "spouse" for same-sex couples causes their families civic and commercial harms by excluding them from benefits and protections equal to those given to married couples.

On July 3, 2013, plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, relying on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Windsor, which held that restricting the interpretation of "marriage" and "spouse" to apply only to heterosexual unions was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

On September 27, 2013, the Court, Honorable Mary C. Jacobson, A.J.S.C, granted the motion for summary judgment and found for plaintiffs, ordering the State of New Jersey to permit any and all same-sex couples, who otherwise satisfy the requirements to enter into a civil marriage, to marry in New Jersey.

The governor and the attorney general of New Jersey attempted to delay same-sex marriages through an appeal to the New Jersey State Supreme Court, but withdrew this appeal on October 21, 2013. On October 21, 2013, same-sex marriage became legal in New Jersey.

Katrina Fahey - 10/28/2013
- 11/01/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services
State of New Jersey
Plaintiff Description Garden State Equality (“GSE”), the largest organization advocating for LGBT rights in New Jersey, and twelve committed same-sex couples and their children.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
L 001729 11 (State Trial Court) 07/08/2011
PB-NJ-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
State Court Website
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 06/29/2011
PB-NJ-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Opinion 02/21/2012 (2012 WL 5687193)
PB-NJ-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Entering Final Judgment in Favor of Plaintiffs 09/27/2013
PB-NJ-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: State Court Website
Order (Jurisdiction) 10/11/2013
PB-NJ-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Opinion (On a motion for stay pending appeal) 10/18/2013
PB-NJ-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges Feinberg, Linda R. (State Trial Court)
PB-NJ-0006-0002
Jacobson, Mary C. (State Trial Court)
PB-NJ-0006-0003
Rabner, Stuart Court not on record
PB-NJ-0006-0004 | PB-NJ-0006-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Connor, Eileen Mathews (New York)
PB-NJ-0006-0001
Gorenberg, Hayley J. (New York)
PB-NJ-0006-0001 | PB-NJ-0006-9000
Lustberg, Lawrence S. (New Jersey)
PB-NJ-0006-0001 | PB-NJ-0006-9000
Pedro, Portia D. (New Jersey)
PB-NJ-0006-9000
Yaster, Benjamin (New Jersey)
PB-NJ-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Jesperson, Kevin R. (New Jersey)
PB-NJ-0006-9000
Reilly, Jean P. (New Jersey)
PB-NJ-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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