A New Jersey judge on Friday ruled that
a lawsuit seeking to enact gay marriage in the state can proceed, The
The decision comes five years after the
state Supreme Court ruled that the state must recognize the
relationships of gay and lesbian couples, but volleyed the question
of marriage back to the Legislature, which decided to enact civil
Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg
agreed that the seven gay couples suing for the right to marry should
have an opportunity to prove that the state's civil unions law falls
short of the legal protections offered to heterosexual married
“I don't think that the court can
remain silent and take no action if … the result is that those
benefits are not equal in the protections,” said Feinberg.
Garden State Equality Chairman Steven
Goldstein called the ruling “a sweet moment.”
“It is time for the state of New
Jersey to end the evil experiment of civil unions that is failing
same-sex couples,” he said.
The lawsuit was prompted by last year's
failed effort to legalize gay marriage in the state and coupled with
the election of Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who has
promised to veto a gay marriage law if approved by lawmakers.
A date to hear the lawsuit was not set.