New Jersey gay marriage advocates on
Wednesday returned to court, where they asked a judge to quickly end
the state's prohibition on same-gender marriage.
The six gay couples and their children
told the judge that after a Supreme Court ruling last week no trial
is needed to recognize that the state's civil unions law fails to
satisfy a 2006 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling declaring that gay
couples are entitled to the same rights and benefits that married
heterosexual couples enjoy.
“The New Jersey statutory scheme
shows itself to be unjustifiable discrimination,” the couples'
lawyers said in their filing, according to the AP.
The Supreme Court ruling striking down
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means that the federal government
must recognize the marriages of gay couples. However, civil unions,
held up by proponents as an equal institution in terms of benefits,
will not be recognized by the federal government.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the New
Jersey case said that the ruling “made clear that those who are not
married, including those consigned instead to civil unions, are not
entitled to the federal rights, benefits, protections and
responsibilities that the Windsor decision extends to those
who are married.”
The case was at least months away from
New Jersey and three other states –
Illinois, Hawaii and Colorado – recognize gay couples with civil
unions. Vermont, the first state to enact such legislation in 2000,
approved marriage equality in 2009.